I volunteered to feed a friend's hens and guinea pigs while they went away for Christmas. The instructions came with a long list of foods not to be fed to guinea pigs (potato skins, iceberg lettuce) but hens seem to be fairly omnivorous, and the owner said that they particularly liked porridge. On Christmas Eve I tried oatmeal; they were a bit suspicious of it at first, but then they ate it all.
The next day I gave them leftover mamaliga, made with goat's cheese, and they liked that much more. Now that my chicken-tending duties are over, Tess suggested that since we were not making desserts this Christmas, I just switched my energies from baking for us to cooking for the hens.
Oats are often disparaged as a food that is eaten by animals as well as humans, as in Dr. Johnson's famous definition. (Indeed, our friend Sara explained how to make porridge for horses, not one of the recipes I will share here). The same sorts of jibes are made about vegetarian cooking ('rabbit food'). Since both hens and people like porridge, I guess I will have to find other ways to distinguish myself from other species.
The hens I was feeding had plenty of room to roam. Commercially-farmed hens are not so lucky, but as of Sunday, an EU directive means they must have at least a basic minimum space and some welfare provisions.
Happy New Year!