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Last-minute Christmas presents for chooks

Sad news! You’ve missed the Dine a Chook shipping cut off. But don't worry. We know for a fact that your chooks don't mind a belated gift of Mealworms because, after all, do they know it's Christmas?

So order your Mealies, but in the meantime we have heaps of last-minute gift ideas for your chooks and Christmas lunch is covered too!christmas-logo.png

 

Last-minute Christmas gifts for chickens


A garden of greens

Get some seeds or seedlings of chicken forage plants and make your girls a garden. Admittedly, most of their fun will be in destroying the garden, and it will probably take a month or two to establish enough to let them loose, but in the meantime you can pick the odd handful of leaves and your chooks can eye the plants in anticipation.

A new sand pit

Chooks love dust baths, and you’d be surprised how much they enjoy a proper sandpit for this purpose rather than just a patch of dirt in the run. Use a cheap kid’s sand pit or build your own. Fill it with coarse-grade washed river sand, not the fine beach/sand pit kind. Your girls will be happy bathing for weeks.

Digging

My neighbours just got a pool dug and I don’t know who enjoyed the piles of fresh dirt more: the chickens or the kids.  Think of all the worms, insects and other interesting forage opportunities in freshly turned Earth. Now I’m not suggesting your chooks want a pool for Christmas, but a few shovel-fulls of insect-rich dirt from the garden dumped into the chook pen for a few hours will make your girls super happy. You can leave it there to be distributed, or even put it back where it came from. Just don’t take dirt from where your chooks, or wild birds, usually forage and avoid any synthetic chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers.

A DIY chook swing

Chook swings are definitely the new thing. But let’s face it, they aren’t hard to make. A nice stout bit of wood – aim for a fairly flat-topped perch as opposed to perfectly round, at least 5 cm in diameter. A bit of rope to rig it up and wait for your chooks to discover it! And there are heaps of more detailed instructions available online. 

A DIY chook toy

There are also heaps of DIY chook toy suggestions online. Our favourites are the plastic bottles with holes drilled in them, filled with scratch mix. Your birds will have a great time rolling them around and trying to get the feed out!

Liberty

I’m not talking about the emancipation of the chickens here, and this may not work in all situations (or gardens!) but a day of liberty can be a nice chicken gift. Let the birds out of their normal run to explore. As they won’t be too comfortable in the new surrounds, most birds won’t roam too far and should be fairly easy to lure back in with a nice Christmas dinner. But they’ll enjoy the change of scenery, the extra bugs in a non-chicken-frequented area, and the fun of foraging around. Of course, there is the risk to your garden, any mulch you’ve spread and any seedlings, so this treat is not for everyone.

 

And what about Chrissy dinner?

 

We've got ideas to make sure that Christmas lunch is sorted.

The Christmas turkey

It’s gross, but chooks are definitely omnivores, so if you want to give them the left over Christmas turkey, they will absolutely love cleaning the bones for you.

A melon

Melons are one of our chooks’ favourites. Not only are there yummy seeds, and plenty of juicy flesh, a cool melon is perfect on a summer’s day. And it’ll amuse them for hours!

Worms or other insects

If you’re willing to do the work, your chooks will appreciate it! Maybe you could take a handful of wrigglers from your worm farm, or start raising soldier fly larvae. Dig up some grubs or collect beetles. Whatever you do, the chooks will love it!

A head of cabbage or lettuce

It’s a common chicken toy/amusement: A head of cabbage or lettuce on a string, hanging in the coop. Chickens love pecking at this version of a piñata and it makes for a nice Chrissy treat.

A sunflower

If you grow sunflowers, and can protect them from the cockatoos long enough to get seeds, a whole sunflower head is a fantastic (but messy) treat!

Sweet corn

Our chooks love sweet corn, cooked or raw. And it's the perfect time of year to get them their own fresh cobs for Christmas!

Popcorn

Chooks love corn in all its forms, so cook up a quick batch of popcorn for your birds. They don’t need salt or butter, but they’ll still enjoy it’s popcorny goodness! 

Carb-loading

Carb-heavy treats like bread and pasta are not great for chickens and should really be avoided. But birds love them, so given it’s Christmas… 

 

And don't forget the pecking order...

If you have a flock of more than 4-5, you will need a couple of the treats (or to cut/break the treat up) to make sure that all of your birds get their share. Because after all, you wouldn’t want some of your chooks to miss out on Christmas because of the pecking order!

 

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