I'm reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan right now and he mentions that purslane (the weed or garden green depending on your POV) is exceedingly high in omega-3 fatty acids. So I'm thinking this would be a great thing to feed the pullets when they start laying. Anybody here feed their chickens purslane? I might start eating it myself!
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I can't remember feeding it specifically to my chickens but they get quite a variety of weeds thru the growing season.
I eat it myself . Purslane is a rather opportunistic annual weed in my garden and can carpet the ground. It has a rather lemony taste and I nibble on it while weeding. I consider it "just desserts" for the invasion .
Omega-3, you say?
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Comfrey, which is as rich in protein as soybeans, can be used for any poultry or livestock as a supplemental feed. It grows rapidly and can overtake areas if you're not careful. The honeybees absolutely love the flowers on it. Comfrey is kinda fuzzy, so if you wilt it a little first, the animals are more receptive to it. Chickens really love it if you feed it to them when they are young, so they eventually fight eachother for it. Turkeys will eat it straight from the ground, though They go crazy for it.
I need to add that you shouldn't use too much comfrey, just a little. It can be harmful to your animals if used in large quantities.
Edited by dangerouschicken - 5/26/08 at 5:06pm
Returning once again to comfrey:
James P. Collman, Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University says this about comfrey, ". . . according to the FDA, between 1985 and 1993 at least seven cases of hepatic veno-occlusive disease (which causes obstruction of blood flow from the liver with potential scarring) resulted from the use of commercially available comfrey products. These complications are caused by pyrrolizidine alkaloids, toxic substances found in comfrey. . . Tests on animals have shown that the pyrrolizidine alkaloids in comfrey may also cause pulmonary, kidney, and gastro-intestinal pathologies, as well as cancer. Due to these side-affects, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Germany have restricted the use of comfrey products (including herbal teas made with comfrey) to use only under a physicians prescription."
And with regards to the protein found in comfrey:
Researchers at the universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin report, "Three ounces of dried turnip greens or spinach, in comparison to 20 oz of dried comfrey, supply adults with the total daily requirement of all essential amino acids, except for methionine."
Let's see . . . 3 ounces of spinach versus 20 ounces of comfrey . . . Do you really want to go with the comfrey??