Chicken Garden

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TJbfarms, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. TJbfarms

    TJbfarms In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2011
    I am thinking of starting a garden next year JUST for the chickens to cut down on some feed costs. [​IMG] Any veggies that are really good for them, or that could replace some of their regular diet. I am still going to be supplying layer feed for them, just also have veggies available more often. Any ideas? [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Why wait? [​IMG] It's not too late to put out swiss chard, kale, etc. if you can find plants at a garden center. I find these "renewable" greens really provide a great way to balance out the layer feed with something fresh and high fiber, along with spinach, which you can let bolt. The chickens went nuts for my huge cauliflower leaves also this spring, so I'm also doing a fall crop of about 30 plants of those. If they don't mature into heads for me, the leaves will still be great for chickens well into the fall. A row of only 6 cucumber plants climbing a trellis gave an endless supply of cukes for chickens and humans until just last week, and you can let fruit get big to have seeds for a little more nourishment. They enjoy all the usuals, like tomatoes, corn, peas, the later of which provide more protein. Clover is a great renewable crop with high protein.

    I have grown sunflowers but not sure grains are really cost effective compared to the work it takes and the volume you would need to produce to truly replace a share of store bought food. Depends upon your ground, fertility, water situation, equipment, time etc. Oats are very easy to grow, but I think you would have to do it on a larger scale (e.g., with tractor) to have it pay off. Many other people are better informed than me about the grain crops and about other alternative grains, I'm sure. I had friends who grew lots of Amaranth, which seems highly productive. Every little bit can help.
  4. greenhorn

    greenhorn Songster

    Mar 18, 2009
    Millington, MI
    I've read that sugar beets and greens are a good food. We have them at our website. I know the chickens love our large zucchini squash. We always have extra golden zucchini's also. They taste a lot like crookneck summer squash but get big like the black zucchini's do. They eat way better when small so we slice the big ones up and feed those to the chickens and they love it. We are going ton try and get an entire 50 foot row in. We'll pick enough small ones for our own use and feed the rest to the birds.

    We are going to plant some kale and other green things for the birds this year to help supplement their diet with good fresh veggies and greens. Also plan on planting some clover, spinach, oats and wheat just for the birds. We are thinking about trying Chinese cabbage, rutabaga and other turnips etc for our chickens also. Leaf lettuce and other head lettuces grow well in our garden and we can get those in and out before we use the rest of the garden for other veggies. Lots of things to try. We would love to eventually be able to raise organic chickens with our own farm grown chicken food.
  5. beaglady

    beaglady Songster

    Jan 19, 2012
    If you have room, the easiest way to grow sunflowers for your chickens is to till an area and broadcast black oil sunflower seeds from the feed store. Then just rake them in a bit, and keep the chickens out until they're grown up. Almost no work involved.
  6. greenhorn

    greenhorn Songster

    Mar 18, 2009
    Millington, MI
    Oil sunflowers grow very small heads. You can get a sunflower called sunspot which grows about as tall as oil sunflowers but gets a much larger head. We also have those at our website.
  7. benclimb

    benclimb Hatching

    Apr 12, 2012
    I found that RIR's snip Marigold flowerheads off(but don't eat the flowerheads). But if the chooks have alot of misc feed on the lawn then the other plants are OK. It does appear that they need something to keep them occupied otherwise they'll just bite/snip everything they reach if too many chooks
    in a particular area.

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