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Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Hay?

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 

I recently added some goats to my little farm, and they have been staying in with my chickens while we work on their pen.

Last weekend, we went to the feed store to get hay, but they were out.  They were cleaning all of the loose alfalfa out of the semi-truck trailers, and they offered to sweep it into the back of my pick-up and let me have all the loose hay I wanted.  I filled up the back of my pick-up to the top with nice, clean alfalfa.  Thought the goats would love it, but they weren't  very interested.  They seem to prefer the coastal.

On the other hand, My chickens went NUTS over the alfalfa and scarfed it down like crazy.  they don't touch the stems, but they eat all of the dried green leaves.

My question is, is this safe for them? Also, do you think it might be a nice nutritional supplement during the winter when they can't get green plants?  I have this whole pile of the stuff up on pallets and protected by a tarp to keep it dry, and I was thinking I might start tossing some into their run each day if it is okay for them.

1 DH of 12 yrs, 5 dogs, 4 cats, 20 ND Goats, 1 mini-mancha goat, 4 Pilgrim Geese, & a whole bunch of ducks, chickens, and guineas!
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1 DH of 12 yrs, 5 dogs, 4 cats, 20 ND Goats, 1 mini-mancha goat, 4 Pilgrim Geese, & a whole bunch of ducks, chickens, and guineas!
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post #2 of 65

Yes, they can eat alfalfa.  Greens are good for them and part of a healthy diet.  Ours get the leftovers from mule feeding time and love it.  The greens give the eggs a nice bright yolk too.  some of the ones we get are almost orange in color.  I had to put fencing around the hay storage to keep the chickens out.

post #3 of 65

A lot of us buy the cubes and soak it in water for our critters. My ducks like it.

7 quacking ducks, 5 spazzy quail, 3 lazy cats, 2 grown sons, 1 goofy husband... and no partridge, but I have a pear tree!
My micro-farm blog - www.bluefeatherfarm.blogspot.com
Duck pond and biofilter information- http://tinyurl.com/lfgeg9
The Double-Decker Brooder Thread- http://tinyurl.com/nf8zm5
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7 quacking ducks, 5 spazzy quail, 3 lazy cats, 2 grown sons, 1 goofy husband... and no partridge, but I have a pear tree!
My micro-farm blog - www.bluefeatherfarm.blogspot.com
Duck pond and biofilter information- http://tinyurl.com/lfgeg9
The Double-Decker Brooder Thread- http://tinyurl.com/nf8zm5
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post #4 of 65

Lucky you.  I've been buying alfalfa pellets for rabbits for my birds.  I don't think it gets better than that... lots of beta carotene in alfalfa. 

Colby in KY

LF wyandottes in black, white, blue and chocolate.  NPIP KY-237

Join the Wyandotte Breeders of America  www.wyandottebreedersofamerica.net

 

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LF wyandottes in black, white, blue and chocolate.  NPIP KY-237

Join the Wyandotte Breeders of America  www.wyandottebreedersofamerica.net

 

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post #5 of 65

I came on here looking for info about alfalfa pellets.  I bought some to give them some cheap greens for the winter and then got to wondering how good of idea it was.  I also have ducks and just dumped some today in water for them.

So, thanks big_smile

post #6 of 65

Timely post !  I was just about to ask if anyone had heard of chaffhaye.  I called up a couple of the local feed stores, one offering chaffhaye for ~$11/50lb bag, the other guys had an 87# bale of 4th cut alfalfa for ~$13.  I'm a little unsure about the former since they say it's fermented, besides they eat the leaves from baled stuff, and then have the stems to scratch around.

Does anyone have any thoughts, or experience with the chaff stuff ?

post #7 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGreenJeans 

Timely post !  I was just about to ask if anyone had heard of chaffhaye.  I called up a couple of the local feed stores, one offering chaffhaye for ~$11/50lb bag, the other guys had an 87# bale of 4th cut alfalfa for ~$13.  I'm a little unsure about the former since they say it's fermented, besides they eat the leaves from baled stuff, and then have the stems to scratch around.

Does anyone have any thoughts, or experience with the chaff stuff ?


hmmm, that stuff sounds interesting.  Might look to see if I can find it around here.

The stuff I got was just the loose hay that came out of the bales on the hay truck.  It has some stems, but is mostly the green, leafy part.  My chickens LOVE this stuff and gobble it down.  I piled a pick-up truck load on some pallets next to their coop and covered it with a tarp to keep it fresh and dry.  I plan to start throwing it out into their run each day to let them have some greens during the winter.

If you have a feed store in your area that sells alfalfa, it wouldn't hurt to check what they do with the loose hay when they sweep out the empty hay trucks.  My feed store guys were happy to give me all I wanted for free because it meant that they did not have to sweep it out onto the ground, pick it all up, and bag it for disposal.  They just had me back up to the trailer so they could sweep it in.

1 DH of 12 yrs, 5 dogs, 4 cats, 20 ND Goats, 1 mini-mancha goat, 4 Pilgrim Geese, & a whole bunch of ducks, chickens, and guineas!
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1 DH of 12 yrs, 5 dogs, 4 cats, 20 ND Goats, 1 mini-mancha goat, 4 Pilgrim Geese, & a whole bunch of ducks, chickens, and guineas!
Reply
post #8 of 65

...............


Edited by North Briton - 1/26/09 at 9:00am
post #9 of 65

I put alfalfa hay in the yard for my birds and they love to scratch around in it.

HEY LOOK!!!
UPCOMING FLORIDA Swaps/Sales/Shows/Events
---> Florida Fair Schedule 2013/2014 and; FLORIDA!!!!!ALWAYS SUNNY SIDE UP!!!
Pure Heritage Single Comb & Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds and Rose Comb Rhode Island Whites.

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HEY LOOK!!!
UPCOMING FLORIDA Swaps/Sales/Shows/Events
---> Florida Fair Schedule 2013/2014 and; FLORIDA!!!!!ALWAYS SUNNY SIDE UP!!!
Pure Heritage Single Comb & Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds and Rose Comb Rhode Island Whites.

Member of the American Poultry Association, the Rhode Island Red Club of America, &

Central Florida Poultry Breeders Association. NPIP Certified Participant

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post #10 of 65

PLEASE, to those feeding hay - any type - to chickens: be very, very careful, as they can become cropbound when eating hay.  I lost a pullet that had eaten too much hay; it got all balled up in her crop...it was awful.

I would think the soaking of alfalfa cubes would be better than just straight flakes, as it's chopped into smaller pieces.  Yep, they love it...but it often does not love them back.

~Courage is fear that has said its prayers.~

 

SPECIALIZING IN:  Jersey Giants.  Black Copper Marans. Blue Marans. Silver Penciled Plymouth Rocks.  

Click to view my website.

Just for fun:  First & second generation "olive eggers," and a few ducks - Welsh Harlequin, Black Swedish, Black Runner.

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~Courage is fear that has said its prayers.~

 

SPECIALIZING IN:  Jersey Giants.  Black Copper Marans. Blue Marans. Silver Penciled Plymouth Rocks.  

Click to view my website.

Just for fun:  First & second generation "olive eggers," and a few ducks - Welsh Harlequin, Black Swedish, Black Runner.

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