Grass for Chickens-Taking a look at the natural health benefit provided by this everyday green

By Mountain Peeps · Dec 31, 2014 · Updated Sep 24, 2015 · ·
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  1. Mountain Peeps
    Grass for Chickens-Taking a look at the natural health benefit provided by this everyday green
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    We all know that fresh grass is good for chickens. However, grass is actually more nutritional to chickens than you may think. First of all, eggs from hens who eat grass will have healthier, darker egg yolks, a better hatch rate and will taste better. Grass also meets all a chicken's protein needs in the form of amino acids. For example, ryegrass has a 11-16% protein contact which makes it an excellent food choice for chickens in need of protein.
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    Amazingly, grass provides approximately one quarter of a chicken’s daily nutrient requirements resulting in them eating less feed. Therefore, you will spend less money paying for feed. Grass is high in protein, iron and vitamins E and C.
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    You may want to go and cut all the grass you can for you flock with this new information. However, there are some things to be carful of when allowing your flock to eat grass. Make sure it’s not treated with any chemicals or pesticides. Also, if you watch your chickens free range you will notice that they only eat the tops of the grass blade. The reason for this is because if they eat the entire blade, they risk the chance of crop impaction. So when harvesting grass for them, avoid giving them long, thick pieces. Be sure you only feed grass blade pieces no smaller than 1" and never just grab a handful of grass and throw it to your flock.

    Do not worry if you give your flock some weeds along with the grass. Some weeds like alfalfa will cause hens' egg yolks to be darker in color because of the extra pigments.
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    (Dandelions are possibly the best weed for chickens. They are filled with vitamins A, B, C, E, K and contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and lots of calcium.)

    Here are some safe weeds to feed your flock
    Beautyberry
    Bee Balm
    Purple Deadnettle
    Clover
    Burweed
    Catsear
    Mugwort
    Plantain
    Chickenweed
    Purslane
    Yarrow
    Dandelion
    Shotweed
    Fat Hen
    Hawkweed
    Nettles
    Violet
    Bitter Cress


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    (NEVER feed buttercup to chickens. It can kill them.)

    Here are weeds and plants to stay away from (Note that most chickens will not eat plants they know are bad for them but it's still good to be safe)
    Azalea
    Rhododendron
    Henbane
    Black Nightshade
    Buttercup
    Clematis
    Foxglove
    Castor Bean
    Irises
    Oleander
    Vetch
    St. John's Wort
    Sweet Pea
    Honeysuckle
    Privet
    Trumpet Vine


    If fed correctly grass and weeds will provide you chickens with plenty of nutrients and even reduce feed costs!
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    Feel free to PM me with any questions.

    Helpful sources

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/12/feeding-watering-your-flock
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/housing-and-feeding-your-chickens

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  1. Linda V
    Great article and the pics are excellent too! We have two Barred Rock hens and they are living "the life!" They have a 2-story, coop, a 14-foot run which I convert into a sun tunnel every fall and a large, wooded area called the "cove" to free roam in at their immediate disposal 24/7! It's protected from below, sides and from above!

    Now that they are 2 yrs of age, and know we are their "parents" the trust factor is very high, so we now allow them into our huge, fenced in yard every weekend about an hour or two while we sit in our chairs and "chicken sit" them! It's fun and highly amusing and they totally love it! Reminds me of your photos here.

    I am glad you posted that list of good and bad weeds, etc., That was
    eggcelent...lol! :goodpost:
  2. jgrove
    I do have buttercups that come up in my grass during the late spring. Are you saying that the chickens will know not to eat them?
  3. Arnettalynn67
    Thanx was very informative..
  4. ChickenyChickeny
    I let my chickens run all over my backyard, they loooove to eat the grass
  5. Abriana
    Great article!
    My hens love clover. There is a special kind of clover that I find and it has a sour taste, little yellow flowers, and is light green and grows fairly tall. I just call it lemon clover, even though it has a more crab apple taste. The hens ADORE it. They go crazy for it. I find that it is pretty tasty for people food too.
      black_dove2 and myfivegirls like this.
  6. knwisdom
    If anyone is interested I buy a chicken forage grass mix from groworganic.com that my girls absolutely love. I plant it in special patches just for them and then rotate their access to it so they don't completely tear it up. Right now I am growing it in ground in my greenhouse so they will still have some in winter. Until it freezes. :)

    https://www.groworganic.com/omega-3-chicken-forage-blend-irrigated.html
  7. black_dove2
    I read PM questions but maybe answer should be shared.

    My hens run is under a Palo Verde tree. Green stick and pretty much that's what it is with huge thornes. I've trimmed all well snapped off from trunk. The hens stay off. If the wind blows broken twigs I clean 'em up asap.

    My concern are the seedlings. They grow with a drop of water and fast I'm pulling them out and tossing but was concerned that if the hens eat occasionally it hasn't harmed so far. Should I worry about rainy season coming? If they eat too many will it harm them?
  8. Coturnix Quail
    Great Article! I have 2 questions. One, I let my chickens out sometimes in the garden for an hour under supervision because there are a lot of predators, but it doesn't seem like enough time because they ALWAYS want to come out, is there anything I can do for them to make them a little less anxious to come out? Also, in your last picture, is that a Barnevelder/EE Mix?? I think I might have one, she looks similiar to yours!
      Crooked Chicken and black_dove2 like this.
  9. Mountain Peeps
    Cutechick53, I use just an iPod!
  10. cutechick53
    Really good article! What camera do you use to take pictures? They are fantastic!
  11. mymilliefleur
    So so true!! More people need to read this!!
  12. TwoCrows
    What a lovely article!! Love the pics of your birds and flowers as well! Very nice!
  13. ChickyChickens
    WESOME article MP!! LOVE IT
  14. MyPetNugget
    Fantastic job on this article!!!! Beautifully written and very helpful information!!! Thank you so much!!

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