Can I plant Flax and Sunflowers and let the chickens free range?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by crosbygroup, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. crosbygroup

    crosbygroup Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have been reading up on adding flax to the chicken feed to increase Omega 3 in the yolks. I was wondering if I could just plant a lot of flax around in my gardens and give it to the girls when it goes to seed. Can I just toss the entire dried flower/seed part into the run? Should the seed be shaken our first?
    I think they might enjoy it if I tossed in one or two a week.

    The second question I have is sunflowers. Can I just grow some giant sunflowers, let them dry out, and then give the entire flower to them? Is there some type of sunflower they like better?

    Are there any other treats I can grow in their side of the yard that you can suggest?
  2. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    A lot will depend on your climate. Do some research and find out what grains will grow in your climate zone. Next a lot will depend on space. Other than that the options are about limitless!
    As far as Sunflowers go I would suggest the Black Oil Sunflower. Select a sunflower not for size or beauty but for the oil and nutrition content of the seed.

    Stay away from the large beans family such as kidney, and soy, as they can not be fed raw.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  3. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I planted them, and had to watch like crazy while they got established, even with protective fencing- once the sunflowers were taller and the flax was good and healthy, I let them go...the flax lasted most of an afternoon. The sunflowers they couldn't get at, short of eating the leaves they could reach, and then I let them have the heads in the fall- the GIANT heads were like dinner plates. They loved those!

    I have planted pole beans, and they like to graze on the leaves of those- mine wouldn't eat the pods, thank Heaven! The other thing they love is squash- they didn't decimate it and really the only problem was making sure I had hardware cloth around the base and roots so they didn't dig it up. I'll be planting a Three Sisters garden for them to play in again, and I'm sure they'll love it!
  4. crosbygroup

    crosbygroup Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm glad to hear that they enjoyed the flax and sunflowers. I was worried that some part of the plants might not be good for them. I think I'll try to grow some in their yard and just fence it off. I'll also put some of each in my flower beds and veg. garden and I'll feed that to them later.
  5. Whispering Winds

    Whispering Winds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:What is a "Three Sister's garden"? Love the sound of it, my aunts had a fabric shop back in the 60's and 70's and that was the name of it! Sweet memories.
  6. Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

    Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Rogue Valley, S. Oregon
    A three sisters garden is a Native American gardening style using complimentary plants and good planning to make low maintainance food that makes a complete meal. You poke a hole in a fertilized mound and plant a kernal of corn, a bean, and a squash seed in it. As they grow, the corn makes a trellis for the bean while the squash shades their roots to prevent moisture loss.
    Thats the condensed version, and I am sure many others are more knowledgable than I, but there you go.
  7. ErieSpurs

    ErieSpurs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Elyria, OH
    Quote:Also the bean replaces nitrogen in the ground for the other plants.

    The squash chokes out weeds, and deters predators with it's spines.
  8. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Cool I done learned somthing:)
    Need to try that.
  9. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I am growing sunflowers in the run this summer. I will pull the blooms daily and toss them to the chooks to pick the seeds out. I am also planting cherry tomatoes in the run. Likely will do 6 of those, protected by chicken wire until they get up around 3 ft tall, then remove that and just leave the stake or more likely, the trellis. I expect the chooks to jump up in the plants and eat the tomatoes while they are green once they learn what they are.[​IMG]
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Find some cheap birdseed that doesnt have a lot of cracked corn or rice.
    Plant that, and they can eat anything that grows

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