You will often see on posts in the Chicken-world that someone fed a ‘mash’ or on the labels of Suburban Chooks supplements that they are to be added to ‘damp pellets or mash’ and ask yourself… What is a mash??
It is basically a mix of food that you make for your Flock, containing essentially a bit of this, that and the other, all mashed together and fed out to your Flock. As it has no specific ingredients, it is referred to as a ‘Mash’. Mashes can be made from intentional, specific poultry ingredients as well as anything you don’t want to eat and don’t want to waste from your fridge or cupboard. A great way of getting rid of those little bits and pieces that you are never sure what to do with, give your girls a treat and know you are getting more yummy eggs from it.
Mashes are a much loved form of treat food that can be given to chickens. As it is a treat, it is not a nutritionally balanced form of food so therefore a small amount and not very often (once a week is a good base guideline) is the way to go… Dependant on the weather conditions, you can also make your mash with warmer ingredients in the cooler months and cooler (fruitier/refrigerated) ingredients in the hotter months.
What foods can be used to make a ‘mash’?
Mashes can contain a variety of ingredients including but not limited to –
- everyday chicken food (pellets should be always added for balanced nutrients),
- Scratch grain mix / cracked maize / pollard
- bread (minimal)
- rice (minimal)
- pasta (minimal)
- leftover kids breakfast / lunches / sandwiches
- excess eggs (or dirty shelled eggs you don’t feel comfortable eating yourself)
- crushed egg shells *
- shell grit
- minced garlic
- leftover dinner scraps
- meat bones
- tinned tuna / sardines / tinned fish cat food
- close to out of date milk / cream
- hot porridge/oats (yes, some people do intentionally cook hot breakfast cereal on cold winter days for their flock)
- dry scraps of cereal / oats / bran
- Virtually any chopped up fruit or vegetables, cooked or uncooked, including peelings (except raw onion, uncooked potato peeling, avocado and citrus peel)
- sprouted grain
- Dried Mealworms
- Poultry Multivitamins
- Seaweed Meal / Kelp
- Healthy Chook Spice Mix or Respiratory Support Spice Mix
This is the process of a mash we made our chickens in August 2019, one cold winters morning…
Assemble ingredients and feeding tray.
For today’s scrumptious offering we have the leftovers of our 9 year old’s breakfast cereal, the stems of a bunch of silverbeet, a good handful of quality pellets (we feed Laucke Showbird pellets), a handful of scratch grain mix, some leftover vegies from a few nights ago, some old chips from the back of the fridge, some dirty eggs, some salad mix that was started to smell a bit suspicious and some leftover rice (didn’t give it all, I don’t like feeding too many empty carbs). Mixed with some hot water and added in about 5 heaped tablespoons of Healthy Chook Spice Mix.
A quick wizz in the food processor for the silverbeet stems and scrambled up the eggs. Add a handful of old salad and rice.
Mash it all together and sprinkle with some Dried Mealworms (who doesn’t love a chook specific garnish?!).
Feed out to your loving flock!!!
That’s it, folks.
If you are a member of the Backyard Poultry Forum, there are a couple of great posts Here and here (with pics) of some mashes that other people have made for their chickens and shared for others to view. If you can’t see the pics, please join as a member (it is free and there is lots of great information besides these two links).