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Feeding alfalfa seed as a supplement or folage replacement?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Anyone ever heard of feeding alfalfa seed as a supplement or replacement for greens? Why I ask is because we have an alfalfa seed plant a few miles from our house and was thinking about their waste product. I know some people like to feed rabbit alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay and it got me thinking about it. How much would be good in a 50 lb bag of pellets or seed. Anyone know?
post #2 of 7

I have no idea, but call the expert at the plant, and your state poultry vet, at the vet school, or a poultry nutritionist, again at the vet school.  Rabbits do better on grass hay, but that's not relevant here.  Mary

post #3 of 7

If I had access to cheap or free alfalfa seeds, I would grow it as fodder for my chickens. That would most definitely put some color into your eggs!

As a matter of fact, that is chicken poo on my arm. Why do you ask?
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As a matter of fact, that is chicken poo on my arm. Why do you ask?
Reply
post #4 of 7

I'm not sure what the protein content of the actual seed would be.  As a feed source though, I would think it much more economical to use it in a fodder system. Or, if you have a large area for your chickens take it out and broadcast spread it with a lawn feeder. You would probably have to keep your girls contained for a few days until it takes hold and starts growing.  Alfalfa as a green feed source runs right around 20% protein and drops slightly when dried or turned to silage. Pellets can be slightly higher.

Of course, even better than alfalfa for fodder/pasture would be White Clover. It's protein content runs around 25% and slightly lower when dried or made into silage. As a pasture it does not grow very tall making it ideal for chickens and they find it more palatable than alfalfa.

A word of warning though,, if using clover as a forage for chickens, be sure to use White only or keep others to a very low minimum. Other varieties like red and crimson clovers can contain levels of cyanide that could potentialy harm chickens. My pasture area for my birds is 2 acres of White clover with a sprinkling of alfalfa, red clover and timothy mixed in. The red clover, timothy and alfalfa are remnants of a field originaly planted for dairy cattle and doesn't contain enough red clover to pose a threat to my birds.

post #5 of 7

Yes, the proteins become much more available when alfalfa becomes fodder. I wonder, though, why the plant should give up seed which can germinate.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'll call tomorrow and ask prices 😆
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysteriaSdrassa View Post
 

I'm not sure what the protein content of the actual seed would be.  As a feed source though, I would think it much more economical to use it in a fodder system. Or, if you have a large area for your chickens take it out and broadcast spread it with a lawn feeder. You would probably have to keep your girls contained for a few days until it takes hold and starts growing.  Alfalfa as a green feed source runs right around 20% protein and drops slightly when dried or turned to silage. Pellets can be slightly higher.

Of course, even better than alfalfa for fodder/pasture would be White Clover. It's protein content runs around 25% and slightly lower when dried or made into silage. As a pasture it does not grow very tall making it ideal for chickens and they find it more palatable than alfalfa.

A word of warning though,, if using clover as a forage for chickens, be sure to use White only or keep others to a very low minimum. Other varieties like red and crimson clovers can contain levels of cyanide that could potentialy harm chickens. My pasture area for my birds is 2 acres of White clover with a sprinkling of alfalfa, red clover and timothy mixed in. The red clover, timothy and alfalfa are remnants of a field originaly planted for dairy cattle and doesn't contain enough red clover to pose a threat to my birds.

 

Do you have a good source for large amounts of forage range mix?

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