Homemade Suet Cakes for Chickens | High Protein Treats for Molting

Easy to make DIY suet blocks are an excellent source of protein for molting season. This quick, and healthy, recipe for making homemade suet cakes for chickens is perfect. Not to mention, an ideal treat to feed molting chickens and other poultry during this time of the year.

homemade suet cakes for chickens

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I can remember the first year my hens molted. Mind you, this was my original flock and I was not quite as versed as I am today about keeping poultry. Now, because of this experience when I speak on raising poultry, molting is included on the subject line.

The First True Molt

The barnyard looked as if a down comforter had exploded in it. My poor birds were looking haggard and losing feathers left and right. Their combs were not their usual red but instead a pale pinkish color. And the chickens which were molting the hardest chose to not roost with the others but instead sleep in nesting boxes. 

I truly thought my chicken flock was dying. Yes, it is true, a novice poultry keeper has the ability imagine the worst in seconds. How could you not with feathers all over the barnyard and almost bald poultry?

With a little research I quickly discovered my birds had begun molting. So, what exactly is molting? Molting is the act of shedding feathers between late summer to early winter to allow for new plumage, or feathers, to come through. 

what to feed molting chickens

Does molting hurt the birds? No, the act of molting (losing feathers) does not cause pain. However, there is quite a bit of discomfort as the pin feathers push their way through the feather shaft. 

As the new feathers push through chickens or other poultry will become standoffish from you and the rest of the flock. It is best to not handle birds during this time, nor do they need extra heat. They simply need to be left alone and given a separate place to roost.

It is also during this time that the immune system is naturally low, leaving them exposed to potential illnesses. Illnesses such as mycroplasma galisepticum have the ability to emerge during this time of year.

Many new poultry owners often wonder, is there anything which can be done to help chickens and other poultry through this time. Better yet, many want to know what to feed molting chickens during this season. The answer is, yes, there is something which can be done to help speed up the molting process. 

what to feed molting chickens

Protein for Molting

During molting season poultry keepers have one goal, to help the birds transition through this process as quickly as possible. There are a few tips which can be done to assist with birds that are heavily molting. 

  • provide extra roosting bars, molting birds tend to roost away from other birds
  • do not handle birds as the new pin feathers are pushing through the feather shaft, this can very well be a painful experience
  • provide a draft free coop in which molting poultry can remain dry and warm
  • watch for pecking issues, exposed areas are tempting to other flock members
  • provide extra feed bowls to ensure all birds have the opportunity to consume feed without getting picked on
  • help keep a strong immune system high by providing beneficial herbs for poultry year-round by offering:
    • oregano
    • thyme
    • echinacea
    • stinging nettle
    • astragalus root
    • fresh garlic
  • ensure a strong, healthy digestive system by offering raw apple cider vinegar

In addition to the suggestions mentioned, provide a daily offering of additional protein during the molting season. Offer high protein suet cakes in addition to a balanced feed during this time.

Keep in mind, there’s no set time frame in which a bird will complete the molting process. Each bird will grow beautiful new plumage when the time is right.

protein for molting

Suet Cakes for Chickens and Other Poultry

Suet cakes for chickens and other poultry are great for many reasons. However, reserving suet blocks for appropriate times will better benefit the chickens and other poultry. Keep in mind, a DIY suet block is a treat. Offering it on a regular basis can cause weight gain. Overweight poultry can have health issues and a decline in egg production. 

It is best to offer homemade suet cakes for chickens and other poultry for the following times mentioned below:

Molting Season

In addition to a balanced feed option, what to feed molting chickens is truly up to you. Offering high protein homemade suet cakes for chickens and poultry is an ideal treat. The ingredients found in this DIY suet block consists of ingredients which will boost the immune system, and are high in protein for molting poultry.

Great Boredom Buster

Chickens and other poultry which are kept in a run become easily bored. Boredom leads to pecking issues and injured birds. Eliminate boredom by creating a sprouted grains pinata and by hanging DIY suet blocks.

Winter Treat Item with Crack Corn

DIY suet blocks are also ideal for cold winter months. Adding organic cracked corn to suet blocks help to provide a layer of fat to chickens. This is necessary to keep birds warm during the cold winter months. Suet blocks which contain cracked corn are ideal for those who reside in temperatures which maintain daily temps of 30 degrees Fahrenheit or below. 

Ideal Protein for Molting

Based on who you ask there are a plethora of options as to what to feed molting chickens. What we all agree on is the need to increase the birds protein level to encourage quicker feather growth.

It is important to not offer an excessive amount of suet blocks or table scraps daily. For best practices, provide extra protein to molting birds after they have received their morning feed of dried or fermented whole grains, or pellet feed. 

Healthy High Protein Food Items

During molting season poultry thrive on high protein foods. These items provide the birds an opportunity to push through the molting season quicker. 

  • dried or fresh grubs (black soldier fly larva) or meal worms
  • unsalted nuts and seeds, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS) are easy to come by
  • whole grains or minimal amounts of oats
  • meat products – chicken, beef, pork, shellfish and fish
  • eggs – cooked or raw
  • sprouted grains, fodders, garden scraps, bugs, worm, and greens found during free-range time
  • Brewers yeast is chock full of vitamins and minerals and an excellent source of protein.

What is Suet

Suet is fat from animals, meat drippings, or coconut oil. Suet is also the main ingredient which holds the other ingredients together, creating a suet block.

  • tallow (rendered beef fat)
  • lard (rendered pig fat)
  • duck fat (rendered duck fat)
  • bacon grease (due to its high salt content, mix with other suet options)
  • meat drippings (from cooking meat items)
  • coconut oil can be used in place of animal fat
protein for molting

Easy to Make Suet Blocks

Many of the items on the ingredients list can easily be found at your local feed store. The Brewers yeast mentioned can be located in the horse section of the store or online. There is no need to purchase a higher cost Brewers yeast, truly, there is no difference than what is mentioned here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups suet, coconut oil, melted
  • 5 tablespoons herbal mixture
  • 1/2 cup BOSS
  • 5 tablespoons dried grubs
  • 2 scoops Brewers yeast
  • 2 cups organic whole grain feed
  • dried fruit, optional

Raisins, cranberries, various seeds and nuts can also be added for an additional type of protein. 

homemade suet cakes for chickens

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Begin by melting the coconut oil to a liquid form.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Next, add the melted coconut oil and mix well. 
  3. Firmly pack the ingredients into the silicone ice cube molds.
  4. Cover with a dish towel and place into the refrigerator to allow the suet or coconut oil to reharden. This process can be sped up by placing the molds into the freezer.
  5. Remove the homemade suet cakes for chickens from the silicone mold and place into the suet hangers. 
diy suet blocks

Note

  1. Suet blocks can be made throughout the year.
  2. Feel free to modify the ingredients list based on the season. For example, eliminate the cracked corn and offer unsalted nuts or dried fruit during the summer months.
  3. Raisins, cranberries, various seeds and nuts can also be added for an additional type of protein.
  4. Shelled sunflower seeds which contain no salt can replace BOSS.
  5. Also, utilize a whole grain chick feed when making DIY suet blocks for a brooder.
what to feed molting chickens

Printable Recipe Card – Suet Cakes for Chickens and other Poultry

To make things easier, enjoy this printable recipe card for your convenience!
Print Recipe
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Homemade Suet Cakes for Chickens | a High Protein Treat for Molting

Easy to make DIY suet blocks are an excellent source of protein for molting season. This easy, and healthy, recipe for making homemade suet cakes for chickens is perfect for what to feed molting chickens and other poultry during this time of the year.
Prep Time15 mins
Chill time to Harden the Suet40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Poultry Keeping
Cuisine: Livestock Feed
Keyword: diy suet blocks, homemade suet cakes for chickens, protein for molting, suet blocks, what to feed molting chickens
Servings: 1 suet treat hanger
Cost: $4

Equipment

  • XL silicone ice-cube mold
  • measuring cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • mixing bowl
  • Mixing Spoon
  • suet hanger

Ingredients

  • 2 cups suet coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons herbal mixture
  • 1/2 cup BOSS
  • 5 tablespoons dried grubs
  • 2 scoops Brewers yeast
  • 2 cups organic whole grain feed

Instructions

  • Begin by melting the coconut oil to a liquid form.
  • Add all the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Next, add the melted coconut oil and mix well.
  • Firmly pack the ingredients into the silicone ice cube molds.
  • Cover with a dish towel and place into the refrigerator to allow the suet or coconut oil to reharden. This process can be sped up by placing the molds into the freezer.
  • Remove the homemade suet cakes for chickens from the silicone mold and place into the suet hangers.

Notes

  1. Suet blocks can be made throughout the year.
  2. Feel free to modify the ingredients list based on the season. For example, eliminate the cracked corn and offer unsalted nuts or dried fruit during the summer months.
  3. Raisins, cranberries, various seeds and nuts can also be added for an additional type of protein.
  4. Shelled sunflower seeds which contain no salt can replace BOSS.
  5. Also, utilize a whole grain chick feed when making DIY suet blocks for a brooder.

Suet blocks can be offered to poultry throughout the year, especially as to what to feed molting chickens. Feel free to modify the ingredients list based on the season. For example, eliminate the cracked corn and offer unsalted nuts or dried fruit during the summer months. And do not forget, this is a great opportunity to involve the children. They will truly enjoy making treats for their poultry flock. 

homemade suet cakes for chickens
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