I wouldn't worry to much about the comfrey. I learned in an enviromental science class I took about six years ago that potatoes are poisonous to us. However, you have to eat about twenty pounds or so a day before you see the effects. Who is going to eat that much? The same might be with the comfrey. Who knows. I have learned though that animals usually avoid things that will harm them. Deer will avoid poisonous plants, but every thing else is fair game to them. The chickens probably know what they can eat and what they can't. It's probably programed into them from the time they hatch.
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I suppose that the best example of a toxic plant causing serious problems is Locoweed.
The "programing" is for animals to eat it, not avoid it. Quick death? No, but it causes a permanent damage to their health.
The lipids in an egg have been formed in the laying hen's liver.
A "feed ingredient" that is banned throughout much of the world because it contains a liver toxin . . .
I'm on no campaign against comfrey. I never give it a thought when I feed my animals or walk around my backyard. There's plenty of clover in the yard, plenty of bluegrass and fescue, plenty of vegetables for me and the hens in every Summer garden (even some grain crops for the hens ). Plenty of what I can be reasonably confident is a healthful part of their diet and mine.
I am planning to plant amaranth, sunflowers, marigolds and broom corn this year. Best of all, the seeds were free from a friend! Of course the chickens will also get weeds and other cast offs from the regular veggie garden.
Now that garden planting season is upon us, I thought it might be good to revive this thread and I'd like to know if anyone knows the most cost-effective and time-effective crops to grow for chickens.
I have a massive garden that is way to big for me, and rather than keep mowing it or turning it, I'd like to plant crops. I thought maybe a 50 x 50 foot sunflower stand (black oil sunflowers), so that the poultry could just help themselves and I'd save any time from having to harvest. Is it ok to just buy a bag at the feed store and toss it on the ground? Anyone know?
Then I was reading about amaranth and collards and pumpkins on this old post, but I'd like crops I don't have to weed... I already have too much weeding in my people-food garden!
Edited by chickenannie - 4/10/09 at 4:58pm
thanks for the comfrey info - of course it was the first green thing to pop up in my veggie beds - i grow it as a green manure - but i was planning to chuck some to the chickens when they were a little older - scratch that - pun intended why take a chance when there is so much other stuff i can feed them - i grow organic veggies - some fruit - and herbs.
My favorite green, here in the land of eternal snow, is kale. It is tough and a few plants came through the winter after being buried with 4 ft. of snow for several months. I set some transplants out yesterday in a bed on the south side of the house where it is a bit warmer. Last fall, when my flock started laying, I noticed that the eggs were bigger when I fed kale. I'm going to pay close attention this spring when I start to feed it again to see if that holds true.
Anyone ever grown fields of black oil sunflowers or oats or amaranth or other grain crop for their chickens?
I thought maybe a 50 x 50 foot sunflower stand (black oil sunflowers), so that the poultry could just help themselves and I'd save any time from having to harvest. Is it ok to just buy a bag at the feed store and toss it on the ground? Anyone know?
I was wondering this myself.
Edited by Tweeza - 4/11/09 at 9:09am