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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tinah, Mar 21, 2013.
will chickens eat dried, baled, alfalfa? Like the stuff for horses?
Yes they will eat it. However you should be careful giving dry alfalfa as the stems are tough and cause problems with the crop. Alfalfa gets even tougher after the first cut. I use alfalfa for my nest boxes for my quail and my chickens will get into the bails of alfalfa and peck at it and eat it. But the stems can and do cause problems with a chickens crop.
I just sprouted fresh alfalfa for sandwiches and for the birds Maybe you could try too?
I suppose I could. I was thinking more as a low maintenance forage for winter, and if they dry lot the yard in 2 months (likely, since they are chickens). I could just keep a bale in the garage and throw them a flake every so often. I've got a full house, with 4 dogs, 6 chickens, a cat, and 3 human kids, on 5 months old. I was kinda hoping for a little less work than messing around with soaking and trays and such.
If you're worried about crop impaction is there any way you could grind the alfalfa up into smaller pieces, like 3" or less to help avoid that? We're planning on planting and growing a pasture to bail up through the growing season for winter feed as well and this was something I was told by hatchery owner regarding feeding hay or silage.
My chickens over the years have never much bothered with hard alfalfa stems. They only seem to eat the leaves. I really don't think crop impaction is that much of a worry.
I can see how that would take out your time then.
I was doing a search of this site for "alfalfa".
Years ago, when I had a small backyard flock, I used bailed alfalfa on the floor of my small coop.
I know the chickens never had any problems with it, as for the 2 years or so that I had them, none of my 5 ladies ever got sick. I was lucky, I know.
I had been thinking that I would use it again when I set up my new coop.
When I used it last, I remember that it kept the coop fresher smelling....never had a big amonia smell although I did keep it pretty clean.
I don't remember what a bail of alfalfa cost back in the early eighties, but that's the only thing I thought might prevent me from using it on the coop floor again. Haven't looked into what it costs now.
Everything I read about it has to do with feeding it to chickens, but does anyone use it on the floor of the entire coop?
Someone might use it for bedding if they could get it cheap enough but its a lot more expensive than straw or other possible bedding material. 1 bale of alfalfa in my area goes for about $9 right now , while straw is at $3 a bale.
I always put stall dry underneath their bedding and it smells fresh for a long time and it takes the extra moisture out of the floor.