During a molt, a chicken will lose its feathers and work very hard to grow in a new healthy and full plumage. This not only can deplete its energy, but protein stores as well. Feathers are 85% protein and by providing protein treats for molting chickens you will help the process to go much smoother.
Instant Pot Yogurt for Chickens
Yes, Instant Pot yogurt that is safe for your chickens to consume! Chickens are NOT lactose intolerant. They do produce a little bit of lactase. This is why they are able to consume dairy in small amounts. This recipe removes most, if not all of the lactose, making it safe for your chickens to snack on!
1/2 cup of yogurt will provide 17 grams of protein. I serve my chickens my Instant Pot yogurt 3 times a week. You can also add mealworms, black oiled sunflower seeds or crickets to the yogurt for a little bit of a variety!
This recipe only requires two ingredients:
- 1/2 gallon of whole milk
- 2 TBS starter culture
If you want to make yogurt that is ok for your chickens to consume, the type of milk, yogurt culture and amount of time you culture it is important.
|WHOLE MILK||THICK, CREAMY YOGURT|
|LOW FAT||THINNER, CREAMY YOGURT|
|SHEEP MILK||THICKER, SWEETER YOGURT|
|GOAT MILK||THINNER YOGURT|
|NON-DAIRY||NOT SUITABLE FOR YOGURT MAKING|
|LACTOSE FREE||NOT SUITABLE FOR YOGURT MAKING|
Choosing Your Milk
When choosing your milk, if you want a thicker yogurt, it is best to use whole milk. Non-fat milk will work, but it will be much thinner. Goat milk will produce a thinner yogurt and sheep milk will produce a thicker, sweeter yogurt. I do not recommend using lactose-free or non-dairy milk, it does not contain enough “food” to make the yogurt.
Choosing a Starter
The most important thing is to choose a yogurt that has “LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES” inside. Read the label and it should say, “Contains Live Active Cultures (S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, L. Casei).
Choose a plain yogurt. You don’t want to use a flavored yogurt with added sugars. You want to avoid giving your chickens any foods with added sugars.
Instructions for Instant Pot Yogurt
- Add 1/2 gallon milk to Instant Pot.
- Press “YOGURT” button until it says “BOIL.”
- Place lid on Instant Pot.
- Remove Instant Pot when beeper sounds.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Add 2 TBS starter and stir.
- Press “YOGURT” button and increase timer to 24 hours.
- Remove yogurt after 24 hours.
- Strain whey from yogurt.(Don’t throw whey away!)
- Scoop yogurt into container and serve to chickens.
See my article, How to Make Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt for Chickens for more detailed instructions and tips!
Fodder Cakes for Chickens
Fodder is simply taking grains and letting them sprout to 4 inches before feeding them to your chickens. By allowing the grains to sprout it “unlocks” hidden nutrients, making it 40%-50% more nutritious for them! For molting chickens, this increased protein content is key.
Choosing Your Grain
Making fodder is something that is really easy to do and I highly encourage all chicken owners to give it a try! You can use many different grains to make your “Fodder Cakes.” Below is a list of the top 14.
Instructions for “Fodder Cakes” for Chickens
- Choose and rinse your grains with water.
- Pour 1 cup of the grain of your choice into a mason jar.
- Fill mason jar with water, making sure to cover grains.
- Soak for 24 hours, rinsing every 8 hours.
- Drain your grains, rinse and let set at an angle to drain for another 24 hours.
- Spread sprouted grains on a tray (with drainage holes on bottom).
- Rinse grains 3-4 times per day for approximately 7 days.
- Sprouted grains should always be damp, but not waterlogged.
- Feed “Fodder Cakes” to chickens when sprouts get to 4″ in length.
For more detailed instructions on how to make Fodder Cakes see my article, How to Make Chicken Fodder – Step by Step 7 Day Guide with Photos.
Mealworm Mania for Chickens
I like to call this one “Mealworm Mania” because chickens absolutely go crazy for this one! Mealworms contain about 20% protein, so they are an excellent treat for your molting chickens.
Ingredients for Mealworm Mania
- 30 Mealworms
- 2 Apples
- 2 TBS Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup Chicken Scratch
- 1 Skewer
Instructions for “Mealworm Mania” for Chickens
- Take a whole apple and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on it.
- Roll it in chicken scratch.
- Use your fingers to press the scratch into the peanut butter.
- Stick live mealworms all around the apple.
- Put apple through skewer.
- Hang skewer in chicken run and watch chickens go into a mania for this treat!
- Remove when chickens get down to the apple core (so they do not consume the seeds).
The first thing my chickens go for with this treat is the live, wiggling mealworms! Once all the mealworms are off they continue to eat this treat until it is down to the core. Once it gets to this point, I remove it to ensure they do not accidentally consume any apple seeds.
Apple seeds are not good for your chicken to consume due to the toxicity of them. If they consume a couple seeds, they will most likely pass them in their poop. But to be on the safe side, just remove the treat when they eat it down to the core.
Breeding Mealworms for Chicken Treats
Mealworms are an excellent source of protein for your chickens, especially when they are going through a molt. Purchasing mealworms can get kind of pricy if you are getting them at your local pet store.
I highly encourage you to try breeding your own mealworms. It is so easy and inexpensive to do. It only requires a few items to start your own mealworm farm.
- 1 container of mealworms (purchase 1 time at the pet store)
- dried oatmeal
- 3 drawer plastic container
|PROTEIN TREAT||% PROTEIN|
|BLACK OILED SUNFLOWER SEEDS||15%|
Protein Blocks for Chickens
Protein Blocks make an excellent high protein treat for molting chickens. These treats have 12% protein in the oatmeal, 8% in the chicken scratch and a whopping 25% in the peanut butter! Your chickens will go wild for them!
Ingredients for “Protein Blocks” for Chickens
- 1 cup Chicken Scratch
- 1 TBS Peanut Butter
- 1 cup Dried Oatmeal
- 1 TBS Water
Instructions for Protein Blocks for Chickens
- Mix 1 cup Oatmeal, 1 cup Chicken Scratch
- Add 1 TBS peanut butter
- Add 1 TBS water
- Mix with hands until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Fill muffin tin half-way.
- Place one end of string in center of muffin cup.
- Fill other half of muffin cups to top.
- Freeze for several hours.
- Remove from tin as needed.
- Hang in the chicken run and watch your chickens devour it!
Chickens love this high protein treat and it is a hoot to watch them bob and weave as they all peck at it as it swings back and forth!
B.O.S.S. or black oiled sunflower seeds are an excellent source of protein at 15%. Combine this with a warm bowl of plain oatmeal (12% protein) on a cold winter morning and you have a protein packed meal for them!
Ingredients for B.OS.S. Oats
- 1 cup of oats
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup of B.O.S.S.
Instructions for B.O.S.S. Oats
Depending upon how many chickens you have, you can increase or decrease the amount you make. This goes the same for the consistency. If you want it thicker, don’t add as much water. Add additional water to make it thinner.
- Add 1 cup of oats to a chicken serving bowl.
- Add 2/3 cup hot water to bowl.(Add water until it is to your desired consistency.)
- Add 1/2 cup of B.O.S.S., black oiled sunflower seeds.
- Stir in seeds and sprinkle some on top.
- Make sure it is cooled down enough prior to serving your chickens!
Serving Protein Treats for Molting Chickens
While you may like to spoil your chickens, (I do!) it is important to make sure that they are served their regular feed before offering any treats. Chickens going through a molt will often stop laying and will also decrease the amount of feed and calcium supplements that they are consuming.
After your chickens have consumed their regular feed for the day, serve them a protein treat. Chickens, unlike humans, will only eat what they need to and will stop eating when they have had enough. By providing a protein boost in your chickens diet it will help their molt to go much smoother. What are some of your favorite treats to feed your chickens during a molt?