Gift Ideas for your Chickens
If you’ve been to the pet store anytime in the last several years, you’ve most likely noticed the PILES of gifts (and clothes) for your pets. During the holidays it only gets worse. Stockings for your cats and dogs. Green and red stuffed plush things and pull toys. Raw hide ‘bones’ in the shape of Santa and the Gingerbread Man! Doggie treats that look like an expensive box of chocolates. The variety is astounding! Manufacturers have pet lovers pegged and the market continues to grow.
Of course it hasn’t always been that way. When I was a kid, my pets never had gifts under the tree. Nor a stocking with their name on it. Now, it’s the norm. Or at least it certainly seems to be.
So, with all that, you know I gotta ask: what are you getting your hens this year? Are they on your NICE list? I mean, they actually GIVE us fresh eggs in exchange for their room and board. (Which is more than I can say for my cat.)
But maybe they’re on the naughty list? Some of mine are. Like the ones that broke into my winter garden when I was away and destroyed my whole crop of peas. (Luckily for them, I don’t stay mad very long.)
Whether your hens have been good or bad, if you’re wondering what to give them for holidays, here’s a list of ideas to get you started for your adorable, yet often overlooked, part of the family.
If you’re the creative sort, you can sew your chicken a polar fleece jumper or knit them one out of yarn. Here’s some free instructions for the knit pattern that has been used for rescued battery hens (who have often lost their feathers and need to be kept warm).
Maybe you don’t have enough time and energy to make your chickens each a sweater…I mean, it’s fairly likely you’ve got more than ONE hen in your flock and you wouldn’t want to play favorites, would you?
Here’s your faster solution: A chicken shawl! Here is the free pattern to get you started.
Chicken Sweater (Crochet)
Can’t Knit? Don’t worry! Plum Creek Creations has a free pattern for you to crochet your chicken a sweater.
You can also accessorize with chicken diapers. Yes, it’s true. And they come in many different colors! Don’t believe me? (I wouldn’t have either before the lady in the feed store told me about it.) Check out the selection here. (Or, if you’re the DIY sort, you can make your own. Here’s some illustrated instructions from Backyard Chickens.)
When You Don’t Have Time to MAKE Anything…
Okay, so maybe you don’t have time to sew, knit or crochet your backyard flock a new wardrobe…but don’t despair! You have options!
Get those girls some Grubbies! This is actually a really great gift because they’re sustainably grown in the USA and they’re GOOD for your hens (a great source of protein and calcium). My girls are crazy for them. Check it out below:
Or, what about a Chicken Treat Ball? Simply fill the ball with fresh veggies or fruit and hang in the coop for your girls to enjoy.
Okay, this gift really isn’t for them, it’s for YOU, but you can justify it as a matter of their safety, right? A SLOW: Chickens at Play metal sign.
The truth is, I love my chickens, but I’m not shopping for them this season. However, I might get a head of cabbage, drill a hole through it, and string it up in the chicken coop just above head level. This will give them something to entertain themselves with during the cold, rainy winter. They’ll get exercise jumping for it. And, they’ll get some fresh veggies at the same time. They’ll also be preoccupied with the new novelty and forget to be grumpy with each other for awhile. (If you’d like instructions for the cabbage treat, I have them here.)
Maybe the Best Gift of All
And, because chickens are so wonderful to have around, another great idea is to give the gift of CHICKENS to someone else. For 20 bucks you can give self-sufficiency to an impoverished family through the gift of a flock of chickens (which can provide food and money through eggs and/or meat). Check out Heifer International for more information.
Now that’s a gift I can get behind. And I think the girls would approve too!
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