Can you give too many greens?

tommboy1973

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 8, 2010
93
0
29
Hidden Valley, AZ
My 10 chicks are 8 weeks old, and I am not free ranging them yet. Since they are confined to the coop/run, I throw a handful of spinach a couple times a day and would like to also throw a flake of alfalfa hay (they absolutely love it!) in for free choice greens. Is it ok to offer free choice? I know when they free range they eat grass, weeds etc "free choice". Any thoughts on this? Do I need to wait until they are older, and if so how old?
 

lex381

Songster
10 Years
Aug 26, 2009
370
0
119
Oakland, CA
I don't think it's possible to give chickens to many greens. I wouldn't think you have to wait, but that's just me.
 

D'Angelo N Va.

Songster
10 Years
Dec 28, 2009
2,551
11
181
as long as they have something else to eat...I really don't see a problem. I give my chickens wheel barrow loads of grass when i am weeding the flower beds..along with the stems of greens that i pick from the garden after putting the leaves in the pot for me...
 

digitS'

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
2,119
23
201
ID/WA border
D'Angelo N Va. :

as long as they have something else to eat...I really don't see a problem. I give my chickens wheel barrow loads of grass when i am weeding the flower beds..along with the stems of greens that i pick from the garden after putting the leaves in the pot for me...

I believe that this is true. Just continue to offer a balanced feed, free choice. In other words, don't think that you can replace a grain-based feed with greens.

Pullets at 8 weeks are becoming adventuresome in trying new foods. They should be able to stop themselves from eating too many greens and return to their feed when they need it.

A commercial feed has over 300 calories in about 1/4 pound of feed.

Lettuce has about 15 calories per 1/4 pound.

On a diet of only greens, your chickens would starve.

Steve​
 

tommboy1973

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 8, 2010
93
0
29
Hidden Valley, AZ
I do feed a chick grower crumble free choice also, don't want you guys to think I am starving my chickens!!
I

t is funny how they act at new things, I tried to give them some cabbage instead of spinach today and they looked at me like I was trying to poison them!!

Also, off topic but... I have been adding electrolytes to their water since I read it is good to do that in times of heat stress (it has been over 110 here!) but a some info I read today said to give 3-4 days. Is it ok to give everyday while the heat is so bad?? Especially since it got hot really quick, they are all panting during the day. They are in shade and have a good breeze usually. I have tried placing frozen water bottles out for them to lay by which was suggested on here, but they haven't caught on to the idea yet.

Everything I know about chickens I learned here, thank goodness for BYC and wonderful people on the forums!!! Thank You!!!
 

digitS'

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
2,119
23
201
ID/WA border
You are showing good concern, Tommboy, and now you are dealing with a serious problem: heat.

I don't know the answer to the question on electrolytes altho' I give my birds vitamins and electrolytes when there is a sign of illness. Usually, I'll continue for a couple of weeks but this hasn't been done for problems with heat. Still, I imagine the benefit would be much the same. You may want to ask this question over on the Emergencies/Diseases/Injuries and Cures forum.

Shade, ventilation, and readily available water is about all I know of to help reduce heat stress. We like a nice, cool salad &/or a Gatorade when it is very warm - probably the birds would appreciate something like that too. Seems like you are on the right track.

Steve
 

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