Crops for my chickens


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
We have had to separate our chickens from our dogs so we cannot give them the entire yard to free range. I would like something I could plant in their pen for them to eat in addition to the pellets I feed them. Looking for some thing easy that doesn't have to be constantly replanted. They have a 50' x 100' pen that we can plant in. We live in north texas and would love some suggestions for both winter and summer crops. Thanks.
You could build a wire frame for grass and herbs to grow up out of (that way they can eat the tops but not scratch up the roots). There are directions on various blogs (like The Chicken Chick) and plans if you need that kind of thing on My Pet Chicken. you could also sprout grains for them. Lots of directions for that on the web, too (The Chicken Chick and Fresh Eggs Daily have posts about it).
My chickens love dandelion greens. Very good for them, and humans too, I prefer them raw chopped up in a salad. Don't know where they sell seeds, they are a natural weed here that you cannot kill easy, and we have tons of them in way upstate NY. Not a grain food, but full of vitamins.
I don't know how nutritious they are, but my chickens went wild over zucchini. It is so easy to grow and you get tons of zucchini per plant. You would have to keep the plants out of reach from the hens of course in order to allow the zucchini to mature.
I also gave a very excited dog who prevents me from completely free ranging my chickens. I don't grow food for them in their run, but I do grow a few things for them in my garden areas. I can grow kale year round, and I keep six plants in the garden just for them. Cut off leaves and put them in the run, and plan to do so all winter. In the spring/summer/fall I grow comfrey for them to eat. During the growing season they love the turnip greens I grow, and I get the turnips.

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