Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

It really should've worked. It- being my most clever use of chicken scratch and gelatin to mold some decorative and yummy (from the chicken's view point) treats to hang in their yard.

I started with a bowl of chicken scratch.

Following the directions on the package, I stirred 6 envelopes of Gelatine into 6 cups of hot water.

I slowly poured the chicken scratch into the hot bowl of gelatine. I thought the bowl had too much gelatine in it, so I added some raisins to the mix. It seems to be the right consistancy.
I spooned heaping tablespoons into my muffin tins and pushed them down compactly and left them to set up. I thought they should be ready in about 24 hours.
The next day, after chores, I grabbed a few clean pieces of baling twine from the square bales of hay I fed the goats and Jasmine. With a knife, I loosened the cakes from the sides of the pan and slipped them out. Most of them remained intact. I carefully used a skewer to pierce the center of the chicken scratch cakes... which promptly fell apart. I managed to thread the twine through the center once, only to have it fall to small chunks all over the protective towel when I tried to pick it up.  

Epic FAIL.
I wanted to use gelatine to hold them together because suet is messy and often attracts bugs which stick to the suet. Ewww. I suppose the chickens would eat the bugs and that would be more protein, but I just didn't want to mess with it. I was really hoping that gelatine would do double duty- adding additional protein for the chickens AND work to hold the cakes into the right shape. It didn't. Also, I found the gelatine really sticky, gooey feeling, and unpleasant to touch while attempting to thread them. So, back to the drawing board I go. The experiment was not a complete loss. Though I failed in my attempts to make hangable feeders, the chickens, ducks and geese still enjoyed their cake treats. 

I had to include a couple of funny and disturbing pictures I took yesterday, too. I caught the roosters and one wayward hen in their daily escape. They were crowing at me while I took this shot. The cheeky beasts! They aborted their escape in favor of eating the chicken scratch cakes I made. And, then, they escaped to the front yard.
<----- THIS was a kitty litter box. Since it was clean and not currently in use, I thought to use it as a bunny litter box while Brighid roamed the house this winter. Brighid is litter box trained, which is quite handy.

The not-so-small, orange beast, curled up, sleeping inside it? That would be Tas. The box had thus far been unused, so I shook my head at his foolishness, snapped a picture for posterity, and ignored his silliness.

Tas exited the box after his nap and Brighid immediately used it. All was well in my world...

...Until this morning, when I found Tas sleeping in the now dirty litter box.


Memo to Self: 1. Do not pet Tas. 2. Ask Sean to bathe him. (I am certainly not brave enough to attempt that.) 3. Also, figure out a way to keep the cat from sleeping in the litter box for the future.
Yup. Just another day here at Lally Broch. Have any of you had success at making hanging chicken feeders from seed, scratch, or nuts? What did you use to keep it all molded together?
Thanks for stopping in for a visit, friends. I am glad you did.
Sonja ♥

This post was also shared at Farm Chick Chit Chat & Tilly's Nest Down Home Blog Hop #15

Farm Chick Chit Chat


  1. interesting experiment! maybe it would work if you try using less water, like half of what it calls for? not sure if that would work, not being able to actually 'feel' how the originals turned out. may be worth a try, but do a small batch to test first?

  2. Sorry your chicken treats didn't work out! You gave it a good try, though. Looks like the chickens didn't mind that they didn't stick together. I love the photo of the chickens ready to escape!

    I'm impressed that Brighid is litter box trained! I don't know much about rabbits, but I didn't know you could train them like that. So funny that Tas slept in the clean box. Kind of gross that he slept in the dirty box, though! Just have Sean give him a bubble bath :)

    1. Me, too, but now I can try again! :)

      Bunnies are REALLY easy to litter box train, since they usually only "go" in one spot. She has been litter trained since I got her back in 2006. I used to let her sleep on my bed at night and she never made any accidents--- until I married Sean in 2008 and we moved into his home. Now, she has to be in her pen at night if I don't want to wake up to messes. I think she got jealous!

  3. I am also working on perfecting a scratch treat that holds together - I was hoping you would have some insight because my attempts so far are about like yours!

    1. Drat! If you figure it out, be sure to post it!

      My sister called and offered me some suet to use, so I think that is my next attempt. I was also thinking of something with molasses or peanut butter???

  4. Meredith/GreenCircleGroveDecember 13, 2012 at 5:55 AM

    I have made seed/suet cakes for the wild birds for years, and this morning when I went to refill one of those feeder, I was wondering to myself if the chickens might not go for something similar. I came in. looked at the FCCC newsletter and there you were! I hadn't thought about using gelatin, but I think I will try making the hens some with suet binder (16 degrees here today, so probably no bugs, and I don't mind a few anyhow :) ). Thanks for sharing!

    1. Have you ever posted your recipe for making the bird feeders? I am winging it by what looks good. I am going to try the suet next. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Meredith/GreenCircleGroveDecember 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Not yet, Sonja. It's on my "do it" list for January! Stay tuned! :)

  5. Good idea, maybe put them the freezer pan and all,and it would be better, and use a drill to make the holes?????????????????

    1. Good suggestions! I'll give that a try next time and let you know if it works.

  6. I applaud your efforts at making a bird block... I thank you for sharing the epic fail and saving someone else the experience. I think this might be of interest to you (I found it this morning on the Farmgirl blog hop!)
    What I always do is read the comments afterward- and this one was worthwhile too- what I would do: add black oil sunflowers at least.
    Good luck and thanks for all you're sharing!

    1. Oooooh, thanks! I appreciate the link. I will be sure to check it out before my next attempt! :)