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Monday, December 3, 2012

Edible Christmas Garlands for your Chickens


Fun, creative, healthy treats can help beat the winter blahs and alleviate boredom in your run.  Besides being easy to make, edible garlands keep your chickens busy during the winter when they are confined to the coop or run without much to entertain them.


Last December, I spent an entire afternoon stringing popcorn, grapes, cranberries, raisins and walnuts into edible garlands for the chickens.  Never again. 


Now don't get me wrong. They absolutely LOVED the garlands and they looked so pretty - for all of four seconds before they demolished them.  But it took me FOREVER to make them, the popcorn kept breaking and the walnuts were hard to string.

So this year I decided to go bigger and less labor-intensive. I upgraded to hard-boiled eggs, radishes, cranberries and Brussels sprouts.  The radishes were only $1.29 a bunch (I bought two), the cranberries were from the freezer, left over from Thanksgiving, and I had a whole basket of eggs that I needed to cook up anyway, so this ended up being a very economical treat.



My only concern was that the chickens had never tried either radishes or Brussels sprouts before, but surprisingly they happily munched on everything all afternoon, and nothing but a few half-eaten Brussels sprouts were left by dark.


It only took a few minutes to string three long garlands after I had the eggs cooked.  [Tip: steam your fresh eggs instead of boiling them and they will peel perfectly every time.] 


I used a sturdy cotton string and embroidery needle to string the garlands. To make stringing the radishes and Brussels sprouts easier, I drilled a small hole through the center with a small drill bit and then used pliers to pull the needle all the way through.
  

The garlands were a big hit, as you can see!




(I made sure to remove the strings as soon as the chickens had finished eating the vegetables to be safe.)








BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST BETTER WITH CHICKENS!


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28 comments:

  1. The garlands are beyond adorable! My daughter and I were just talking about making garlands for the girls and contemplating what we should use--thanks for the ideas!

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  2. This is a great idea!! Thank you!!

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  3. Hey, What a fun creative way to feed the chicks. It is a pretty and colorful decoration too. Great job.

    Garrett @TheGrowingPatch

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  4. What a great idea. I have radishes in the refrigerator that aren't going to make it into a salad for the house people! I'm wondering what you used to string them on. My girls tend to think anything string like is actually a worm and pick at it. Thanks!

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  5. ridiculiously adorable! I know what we'll be doing this weekend!

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  6. So cute and festive! Wish I had extra eggs to spare. We're still in a post-molt shutdown :(

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    1. Aah, we're just emerging from the post-molt fortunately. It's feast or famine isn't it?

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  7. How cute! So glad you linked up with the Build a List and Watch it Grow hop - I'm all signed up =). Looking forward to more!

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  8. Just in case you're interested in trying popcorn again for the girls... If you use day-old popcorn (we used hot air popped but i'm sure the same principles apply) it turns a little bit more rubbery and you can string them like a dream.

    your garlands turned out lovely!

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  9. What a wonderful idea... I was just thinking about now that the chickens are in the barn for the winter they will not have any bugs are fresh grass for a long time. Thanks.

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  10. As a new chicken owner, I have learned so much from your website. I'm sure my girls would LOVE this, too. Thank you for your informative articles. I so enjoy the Fresheggsdaily blog. Chris

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  11. I agree. Awesome! Thank you, Lisa. :o)

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  12. Hilarious! I love those pics, so funny (and your girls are SO spoilt!!!) :)
    Janie x

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  13. I love these garlands. What a bright and happy project to keep the girls in good spirits. I am wondering about the brussels sprouts, though. My mother-in-law always told me that cruciferous and alliums should not be fed to chickens as they effect the flavor of the egg. Is this correct?

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    1. I have never noticed anything effect the flavor of our eggs. Onions can be toxic so I stay away from those, but I add garlic powder to my girls' daily feed and the eggs don't taste like garlic.

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  14. Love it! I'm going to do something for them too. What fun!

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  15. Stumbled upon your website a week ago, and am in love. As a new chicken owner, there is a lot that I can learn here! Tomorrow my brand new blog will show the garland I've created at www.selectlearningnet.blogspot.com.au

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  16. These are so ridiculously adorable! I love this ;) Thanks so much for sharing it on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday! I've pinned it on my WNWNW board, and please check back on Wednesday to see if you've been featured!

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  17. My oh my... such lucky chickens you have :) This is a super-cute idea!

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  18. love this idea. I am new to having chickens. I have four hens Agnes, Mabel, Cleo and Fiona.The girls are now about 5 months and 3 have started layng. They seem to squat and put there wings up. Does this mean they are all starting to lay and they think I am the rooster? I have never seen this behavior. I love your site. Thank you for your time.I check your site daily.

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    1. That is exactly what it means. It's a submissive posture they assume when they start laying. It makes it super easy to catch them and pick them up!

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Thank you for your kind comments and joining along with Fresh Eggs Daily as we live our wonderful, natural country farm life.

Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl
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