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Coconut Oil Suet Cakes for Chickens or Wild Birds

Make homemade coconut oil suet cakes for your backyard chickens or the wild birds this winter.

High-energy and fat-based treats are what I give to my chickens (and the wild birds) through the winter - in moderation of course.

Digesting nuts and grains raises their metabolism, and some added fat helps them put on a bit of weight, both of which are extremely helpful in creating enough body heat to keep them warm, especially overnight.

I make my own suet cakes for my chickens incorporating some ingredients that are especially beneficial winter treats.

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes for Chickens or Wild Birds 

I like to use coconut oil as the base of these suet cakes. You can use lard, leftover bacon or hamburger grease instead, but coconut oil provides the calories and good fats without the bad fats, salt or preservatives.

Coconut oil also has many benefits for your chickens (as well as wild birds and humans!) including:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improves skin condition and health
  • Antibacterial and anti-fungal
  • Aids digestive health
  • Supports the immune system
  • Increases metabolic health
  • Improves circulation and blood flow
  • Antiviral and antimicrobial - can help fight e.coli and other pathogens
  • Speeds skin tissue repair

One property of coconut oil is especially important: it improves circulation and blood flow. In winter, improved blood flow can help prevent frostbite on your chickens' feet and combs. And if you DO have a hen with frostbite, a bit of coconut oil softened and smeared on the comb can help it heal and prevent further damage!

These suet cakes are super easy to make. I just melt the coconut oil to a liquid, then pour it into a small freezer-safe dish like I'm using, or a small casserole dish or Tupperware (you can even use a full-sized casserole dish then just slice the hardened suet into squares), then stir in some tasty add-ins.

I like to pop the cakes in the freezer to harden up, but you can just let them sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator and they will eventually set.

If you aren't going to feed the cakes to your chickens right away, it's best to store them in the refrigerator or freezer.

You can use a wild bird suet holder like THIS for your cakes (cut them with a knife if you need to, in order to make them fit), or you can easily make a holder out of welded wire.

Just cut a piece large enough to sandwich your cake inside, then fold the cut edges over on each side to attach the front to the back. Lastly, attach a piece of fishing line and a small hook so you can hang the cake on the side of your run fencing.

I give my flock of a dozen chickens one cake at a time and it seems to be a good amount for them, so if you only have a few in your flock, you can break the cake into pieces and divide it up into a few servings.

I like to put out a cake for my chickens in the late afternoon when a dip in the temperature is predicted for that night, just to give them a better chance at staying nice and warm overnight.

Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Recipe #1 "Granola Suet Cake"

Oats, cornmeal and cranberries combine to make a sort of granola bar for your chickens to nibble at. You can substitute raising or another dried fruit for the cranberries. 

Coconut oil (I buy mine here)
Dried cranberries

Recipe #2 "Nut and Seed Suet Cake"

Nuts, especially peanuts, are a great energy source for your chickens. Combining a bit of peanut butter with some mixed nuts and seeds results in a flock favorite!

You can use other seeds such as millet or sesame in place of the sunflower seeds.

Coconut oil
Peanut butter (preferably natural and unsalted)
Unsalted chopped mixed nuts
Sunflower seeds

Recipe #3 "Herbal Suet Cake"

Herbs have so many wonderful health benefits. I like to mix a few different herbs together for this recipe.

Coconut oil
Rose petals
Dried herbs  (dill, mint, raspberry leaf, nettle, basil)

Feel free to experiment with other variations your chickens might enjoy. Some ingredients might include:

Cracked corn
Garlic powder
Crushed eggshells
Cayenne pepper (also improves blood flow and circulation and is thought to improve egg production)

And don't forget to share with the wild birds too!

Note: Coconut oil has a melting point of around 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so these suet blocks have got to be a wintertime-only treat, and are best served in the shade so they don't melt!

If you have leftover bacon or hamburger grease, here's another RECIPE you might enjoy.

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