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Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Hay? - Page 3

post #21 of 63

So can I assume that putting in a bale or 1/2 bale of alfalfa hay that we feed to the horses, would be ok?   I thought I would just put it in their pen and let them pick on it.

Five chickens,  make that 10 chickens, no make that 19 chickens, .....sorry but it's now 22!  OMG,  now 25!!  Someone stop me!! OK......lets just stop counting!   6 dogs,  3 horses, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 VERY understanding husband!
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Five chickens,  make that 10 chickens, no make that 19 chickens, .....sorry but it's now 22!  OMG,  now 25!!  Someone stop me!! OK......lets just stop counting!   6 dogs,  3 horses, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 VERY understanding husband!
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post #22 of 63

They love to scratch in it, and it is good for them to have some roughage.

Plymouth Rocks, Eastereggers, Lightbrn and White Leg Horns, and OEG Bantam Golden Duck wings.
4 ducks, 2 Khaki Campbells, a Cayuga, and (ate the Peking)...........Pygmy Goats!!!!! miniature zebus!
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Plymouth Rocks, Eastereggers, Lightbrn and White Leg Horns, and OEG Bantam Golden Duck wings.
4 ducks, 2 Khaki Campbells, a Cayuga, and (ate the Peking)...........Pygmy Goats!!!!! miniature zebus!
USA ARMY (RET) Combat disabled Veteran
I'm on facebook! Message me if you wanna friend!
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post #23 of 63

I have acesses to some second cutting alfalfa to cut and bale with some old equiptment i have.  Very good short, leafy alfalfa that i give loosly to the flock about twice a week during the "white" season which can go on pretty long around here. I recall my parents and grandparent doing this also. Inportant part of their diet in the greenless times.

living on the edge
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living on the edge
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post #24 of 63

I'm very cautious of hay right now. I have hay bails around my coop for insulation right now which works great but... I just lost my favorite girl this week and the autopsy showed she was all full of hay well past the crop. Granted, she may have had other things going on that made her not digest properly, but I'm keeping an eye out for problems with the others. Alfalfa is very nutritious, I just would stick to the meal or pellets.

"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Check out my page on Chickens and Gardens:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

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"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Check out my page on Chickens and Gardens:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

other random things: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-first-chickies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-greenhouse-hen-house-combo-the-permaculture-holy-grail

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post #25 of 63

I was extremely nervous about putting hay out for my chickens because of the crop binding issue, but they love it, especially in the winter when there's no other greens around. There's never been an issue with binding---I do make sure they have grit and other feed available at all times. The one issue that I do have is that the hay, whether in the coop or run, really stinks things up! I find myself having to rake it up constantly to keep the smell away (normally my run is either leaf litter or wood chippings, and continually topped off). So if I could find a good way to keep them busy with alfalfa pellets, I may go that route. Maybe put them in one of those rolly balls with holes in it?

post #26 of 63

Well you learn something new every day.  I help run a horse and donkey sanctuary and we always have alfalfa in so will have to go and get some tomorrow and try it out on my chickens and ducks.

post #27 of 63

I've been supplementing with TSC's bagged alfalfa pellets all winter, since there's nothing green in Michigan for my girls to munch on.  I soak a big panful overnight until it's mushy, then keep it in a huge covered Tupperware bowl in the garage with their feed.  They haven't wanted to eat the pellets unsoaked.
In the morning I give the girls a hot mash made from their laying crumbles, oyster shell, scratch grains, horse sweet feed and a couple spoonfuls of reconstituted alfalfa pellets.  Mixed with last night's vegetable cooking water, plate scrapings, meat scraps, gravy, etc, and microwaved in a 1 quart bowl for 2 minutes.   

I really love the way the alfalfa pellets smell... green & wholesome like freshly cut hay.  No stems or stick pieces to gum up their crops.   Also, TSC has other varieties of hay pelllets available; I remember seeing timothy and clover on the shelf.

Proud mom of 2 US Marines!   Happy care-giver to 11 ISA Brown hens, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte; 1 elderly female Rottweiler who thinks she's a cat, 4 sons who are much taller than I am, the most awesome baby granddaughter alive, and a sweet computer geek husband who broods in front of his laptop and hatches incredible software.
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Proud mom of 2 US Marines!   Happy care-giver to 11 ISA Brown hens, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte; 1 elderly female Rottweiler who thinks she's a cat, 4 sons who are much taller than I am, the most awesome baby granddaughter alive, and a sweet computer geek husband who broods in front of his laptop and hatches incredible software.
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post #28 of 63

I have seen crop binding issues when feeding green cut grass but have never had problems with mature dry alfalfa hay. Not saying it couldnt happen.

living on the edge
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living on the edge
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post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by western edge 

I have seen crop binding issues when feeding green cut grass but have never had problems with mature dry alfalfa hay. Not saying it couldnt happen.


The eat cut grass clippings?? geesh this is all so darn new!

5 Red Sexlink, 5 turkens, 5 Barred Plymouth, 5 RIR, 5 Black Australorp
2 Brahmas & 3 EE'ers
On the other hand: Mom to 4, Britt 20, Homeschool teacher to Jeron 12, Elayna 7 and Lydia 5 & SAHM/WAHM (self employed), wife to Brian
My belief: Be nice to everyone you meet, we are all fighting some sort of battle in our life.
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5 Red Sexlink, 5 turkens, 5 Barred Plymouth, 5 RIR, 5 Black Australorp
2 Brahmas & 3 EE'ers
On the other hand: Mom to 4, Britt 20, Homeschool teacher to Jeron 12, Elayna 7 and Lydia 5 & SAHM/WAHM (self employed), wife to Brian
My belief: Be nice to everyone you meet, we are all fighting some sort of battle in our life.
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post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyanne 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynette 

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.


The stuff I have isn't the same as most hay...coastal hay for example is long strands of dried grass, so if they eat it it can wad up inside their crop and leave them crop bound.  The alfalfa I have is more like a dried clover consistency.  There are some stems, but the chickens ignore those and just eat the little dried leaves. 

I'm not sure those could cause them to get crop bound even if they did eat a whole bunch...then again, I've never met an animal that couldn't find SOME way to hurt itself and cause you a heart attack/drain your wallet on vet bills no matter how careful you are with them. roll


Alfalfa "hay" is very different than grass hay as Alfalfa isn't a grass. It's a leafy plant, a legume actually, that does not stay intact the way grass hay does. When I can find Alfalfa hay I lie to feed it in the winter as a substitute for the green food the birds access in the summer.

APA General Licensed Judge with 50 years experience raising and showing all manner of fowl.

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APA General Licensed Judge with 50 years experience raising and showing all manner of fowl.

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