Friday, January 11, 2013

Recycling Canning Supplies...

I have been trying to create some hanging chicken scratch feeders for a little while. I started out HERE and then, followed the perfect recipe HERE with better results. It still didn't work the way I pictured it in my head. I am not the sort to give up. I am also not the sort to continue working past usefulness. Instead, I tucked the idea away into the recesses of my mind to let it process. While sorting through my canning supplies today, the planets aligned and an idea clicked into place.

I came across about 15 rings that had started to show their age. Normally, I stick these into the metal recycling bin and when it is full, Sean takes the bin to our local scrap yard and brings me home cash monies. I had anticipated that fate for these. Then, it came to me that I could perhaps use these...


I grabbed a roll of jute twine from my garden supplies and cut it into pieces roughly a 16 inches long.  I passed the jute twine through the ring and placed the it with the lip side down. To protect my table from the greasy mess I anticipated this project could become, I lined my largest cookie pan with a piece of parchment paper.

I melted a pound of lard in the microwave and mixed it with some reserved bacon grease. (You do not need to use bacon grease, but I had some from our breakfast and it won't harm the chickens, so I added it to mine.)

I mixed approximately 6 cups of chicken scratch into the melted lard.



It should look something like this:



I began scooping the mixture into the rings with a spoon to start with, but then, I abandoned that and just pressed it firmly into the rings with my fingers. Be sure to compact it as much as you can. I even rounded mine a little over the top.



This project started to set up almost immediately and it held together beautifully.

I like several things about this project.

1. It is a good use of a material that would otherwise go to the scrap yard. And, I can reuse the rings repeatedly as the chickens empty them.

2. They are a good size for several chickens to peck at simultaneously. And, the scratch mixture can be eaten from both sides.

3. The feeders swing easily when the chickens peck them which provides more exercise and play for them than a stationary feeder would.

4. Once my chickens figured out what this new toy was, they loved it.




One of the Red Stars came to check out my tray of goodies before I even had a chance to begin tying them to the fencing.














It didn't take long for the interest of the other chickens to be piqued and try it out for themselves.

I purposefully tied them farther in the yard than our feathered friends usually prefer to travel. They'd much rather stay on the hay. I wanted to have the chance to hang them all before they were eaten and gone. Once they were secured, I spread some hay on the snow to make getting to them and eating from the rings more pleasant.



Unfamiliar as the rings were, at first, there was no mad rush to eat them up. That changed in a hurry.



I secured 6 of the rings to the fencing tonight. I'll check them in the morning to see if any survived to see the sunrise. I doubt it, though. Finally! I have succeeded in making a chicken scratch feeder that I really like! It is not very pretty, perhaps, but it is definitely functional!

Thanks for stopping in for a visit tonight. I hope you'll come again soon.

Sonja ♥

Pin It  Check out other great recipes at Farm Girl Blog Fest #19

Reminder: We're drawing for our Lally Broch Farm Soap in less than an hour! It's not too late to enter!




19 comments:

  1. What a great idea! I love how you used items you already had on hand. Such a fun way to give the chickens some treats :) Looks like they love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They sure did, Tammy! By morning, the 6 I'd tied out were empty and ready to be refilled. :)

      Delete
  2. Excellent idea! This is one of those I wish I had thought of myself! I am definitely trying this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this! Definitely gonna do it! I especially love how the girls seem to be having such a good time with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you do, let me know how your chickens enjoyed it, ok? :)

      Delete
  4. This is a great idea! I've tried this with a regular bird suet cage and the chickens won't go near it. I'll try this and see what happens

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ours were stand offish at first, but within a few minutes they were quite interested in it! And, once one started, they all wanted to see what the fuss was about. :)

      Delete
  5. So happy I haven't recycled mine yet! I'm going to try this immediately. Thank you so much for sharing this, have a lovely day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeay! I'm glad you stopped in for a visit. :)

      Delete
  6. I love this! I am going to go through my rings and get some lard. I was sitting here thinking as I read this that it was too bad I threw a bunch of these rings out this summer. Sometimes I save them and spray paint them to put on jars I use for storing crafty stuff but I had an overwhelming amount this past year that I just need to toss. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean, Brenda. We seem to recycle some each year, but not anymore! I am really liking how this works for our flock.

      Delete
  7. My mom has some old rings, but they have a little rust on the inner part of the ring.Do you think it would be a good idea to use them? This is a great Idea.How long did it take the lard to harden up and did you put them into the refrigerator? I am going to try this very soon. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna,

      First, I was not 100% sure about a little rust on them harming your chickens, so I looked around on line. What I found was a lot of disagreement. For me, I used mine that were a little rusty, because I feel that the likelihood of the chickens eating IT was really slim. Also, unlike holding water which could cause more rust, I don't believe the feeders will. You, of course, need to use your own judgement in what you use. I would not use any that are really rusty with parts falling off the ring.

      As soon as the lard cools, it begins to reharden. Mine was hardening as I was spooning the mixture into the rings. I was able to use some of mine the same night. I did not put them in the refidgerator, but if I'd made enough to store, I would have and used them within 7-10 days. You don't want to feed rancid lard to your flock!

      Delete
  8. During hot weather wouldn't these melt?

    ReplyDelete
  9. During extremely hot weather yes. But during the fall through spring these types of treats are great for keeping your chickens busy and they won't peck at each other as much if at all. I do similar treat and they are a life saver literally. I used to have a huge pecking issue but now I rarely see any issues.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, in hot weather it can melt. If not it will at least become soft. Switching the late for molasses and baking the rings can help if you want to do it for a summer treat. Main purpose for these kinds of treats is to help fight bordum in the winter and keep your chickens from pecking at each other. I use similar treats and now I have very little issues with pecking. It also helps them stay warm in the winter.

    ReplyDelete