Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by max13077, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. max13077

    max13077 Songster

    When I let my chickens out to free range in the field about the house there is a good amount of alfalfa. They eat mostly dandelion greens and grass, but I have seen them pick at the alfalfa. Is it safe for them?
  2. blue fire

    blue fire Songster

    May 2, 2007
    Murfreesboro, TN
    the grass yes, as long as they eat short blades , but not the hay
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Alfalfa is not an uncommon ingredient in poultry feed. There are a few special reasons that I've come across for including alfalfa in the formulas - one is that it enhances the color of egg yolks; another is that alfalfa is a source of vitamins necessary for the health of the birds; also, alfalfa is a fairly high-protein food and the protein can even be concentrated thru processing.

  4. Beer4myhorses

    Beer4myhorses In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2008
    Weatherford, TX
    Having horses and feeding hay and alfalfa...I do have a supply of alfalfa leaves that fall to the ground. I pick them up in and bucket and feed as a treat...THE LOVE IT!!!! I've even thought about tossing in a whole flake now and then.

    I have thrown in some hay and they don't care for it. They'll pick thru it and scatter it, but that's about it.
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I have read that a century ago, farmers would collect alfalfa leaves after moving hay. They then "scalded" these dry leaves and fed them to their chickens.

    I assume that scalded meant just what it does now: to heat with boiling water.

    I'll sometimes collect a handful of alfalfa stems and feed them fresh to the chickens. They certainly seem to enjoy them.

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  6. shaylee

    shaylee In the Brooder

    Jun 4, 2008
    Hamilton, Il
    I give mine a forkfull of alfalfa here and there during the winter. Doesnt hurt them. I also give mine ratite pellets in the winter. (found at co-ops) I have had no problems with mine consuming this.
  7. Penske

    Penske Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    I had a fellow long-time keeper of chickens tell me to put an entire bale of alfalfa in the run. Do not cut the ties--keep it baled. This gives them something to peck at and will keep them busy. He says this will distract a feather-picker and said that the behavior will stop. I have one hen that is picking another even though they have TONS of space inside and out.

    I'll let you know how it works! So far, so good!
  8. I do that, they love their bales and it's a safe plce for jumping down from the platforms. Just put it where it won;t get wet (my run is roofed) to avoid mold. Every now and then a hen will scratch aside the alfalfa in a nest box to eat the seeds at the bottom. Now I understand some hens are prone to impaction from long hay I checked with a local guy who breeds comets, like mine. So far, no problems whatever...but be aware.
  9. txchickie

    txchickie Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    I throw in a flake of alfalfa once a week or so, they love the stuff.......then they scratch it all over and make nests and sleep in it:rolleyes:
  10. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    For my caged chickens I give them the alfalfa cubes to pick at, sometimes soaked in water or broken apart.

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