Alfalfa hay

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by flowergirl60, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    Instead of getting a bale of alfalfa hay I ended up with the dehydrated crumbles of hay. TSC didn't have the bales. I drove 30 miles so I bought what they had. Now I don't know how to use it. Should I just spread it out in the run? Does it get moldy when wet? It's very fine. Put in nest boxes? I took some and spread some out and it's kind of dusty. I know they can eat it but they seem kind of scared when I spread it out. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    I buy the pellets. They are large, as they are intended for horses. I just put a handful into a bucket, with an inch or two of water, and soak over night. I add to the feed and stir them together. One part alfalfa mush to 4 parts layer mash. The moisture of the hydrated alfalfa makes the dry mash come alive. The hens eat it just fine. Does wonderful things to the yolk color too. Mine won't eat it "straight", however, but mixed? No problems.
  3. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Songster

    Apr 13, 2011
    Quote:I also reconstitute alfalfa pellets. My girls actually do like to eat it on its own, as well as mixed in with other treats/crumbles.
    However, they LOVE to scratch through alfalfa hay--so as a treat, I throw a bale into their run. I just throw in the mini bale and let them have at it! It is spread around the run in a matter of minutes!
    I've heard there are dangers of impacted crop when feeding hay, but I haven't experienced any problems of that sort, and my girls don't seem to bother with the stalks, but prefer to peck out the bits of green.

    Flowergirl, if you only have a few hens (I only have 5), you could purchase mini bales of alfalfa from a pet superstore or pet store--it's in the rabbit/guinea pig aisle. Not the most economical way to go about it probably [​IMG]
    If they don't initially seem to like it, it may just take them time to get used to something new. I never give up on anything after the first trial--chickens are inherently suspicious of anything new or different![​IMG]
    I've also spread alfalfa hay in the coop and, in addition to smelling wonderful, it gives them something to scratch through, keeping the bedding well-mixed.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I wonder if it's the grass hays that cause more of an impaction problem, for some chickens? Mine usually want the leaves from alfalfa, which has tougher stems than the softer grass hays.

  5. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    Thanks for all the replies. I gues I'm just going to put a pile in the run and see what happens. I don't think it would cause their crop to be impacted b/c it is really fine. It says on the bag it is easily digested.
  6. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

    Mar 28, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Haven't been doing it long but I take the compressed alfalfa cubes and rehydrate them with water and my girls so far love them.

    We still have plenty of greens in the yard but as it gets darker we don't have as much time for free range time because I don't get home til 5:30 and by then the EE's are roosted and the others will go out for 20 minutes before retiring.
  7. Renee'

    Renee' Songster

    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    Yes, if they get wet they will mold.

  8. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    Well I won't be putting it in the run this weekend b/c it is going to rain. I'll put some in the coop with my deep litter pine shavings and see what happens. It stays dry in there.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by