Dandelion leaves

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Y N dottes, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Y N dottes

    Y N dottes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens love dandelion leaves, and since ive heard they are pretty healthy, ive been giving them as much as they want in their run. does anyone think this a bad idea??? or does it have a good effect???
     
  2. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  3. ShoreBird

    ShoreBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for asking about the dandelion leaves. My chickens have devoured almost everything green within their 80' X 40' run. I have been pulling handfuls of clover, dandelion, etc. from our lawn (which consists of practically everything but grass), and throwing them to my girls and boys by the fistful. I noticed today that several of my hens and my two turkeys were picking out the dandelion leaves so I began picking more dandelion and feeding them by hand. The competition for the dandelion became so fierce that a few of the birds flew up onto the fence posts on either side of me so that they could get first dibs on the leaves. I just love feeding them by hand so I had a wonderful time this afternoon. However, I am concerned about not having vegetation available for them once winter sets in. I live in Pennsylvania. I have a rabbit who lives in a cage in the coop with the chickens and did notice that a few of the hens were going into the rabbit cage during the day when the rabbit was outside and eating her some of her pellets. I began locking her cage door to prevent this, but now I am wondering if that would be a good supplement to add to their food for over the winter months or if it would be harmful to them.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
     
  4. suki'smom

    suki'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My birds get rabbit pellets in the winter with no problems. A couple handfuls a day is fine.
     
  5. Melabella

    Melabella Overrun With Chickens

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    An Asian market near me sells big beautiful dandelions. I mean they are monstrous. I am guilty of buying them now and then for the girls!

    Good to know about rabbit pellets, I will remember that this winter!

    MB
     
  6. ShoreBird

    ShoreBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the comment about the rabbit pellets. I will add them to their diet over the winter months.
     
  7. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    Dig some Dandelion roots & put them crown up in wet sand. Keep them in your basement & they'll produce leaves all winter. Of course I don't feed mine to the chickens, they're too good. We eat them ourselves. Like many leafy greens they're high in calcium. Good foe shell production if you do feed them to your chickens.
    An alternative to rabbit pellets for winter feeding is Alfalfa or Clover hay. Toss a section into the coop & not only do the birds get the nutritional benefit they get exercise scratching through it.
     
  8. Melabella

    Melabella Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks NYRED!

    My grandmother used to walk to the market with me and pull all the dandelions and gardune she would find along the way. She ate them too. Too bitter for me, but maybe I should give it a try again.

    I want to plant some next year, I found a website that sells gourmet dandelion seeds.

    Thanks for the tip about the alfalfa,

    MB
     
  9. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our girls are also crazy for dandelions...the nice young leaves most of all. They're very good for them, high in beta carotene, which helps keep those yolks gold and tasty. They're spoiled though...they don't eat them from the ground...they prefer it if I pick them and toss 'em in the run, LOL. They also like thistles if I get them before they get too prickly. Over the winter, we plan on sprouting some grains for them so they'll have those for greens, and we're putting in a cold frame so we can grow things like spinach and chard for them over most of the winter. They love that stuff too!

    We picked up some winter rye, winter wheat and alfalfa seeds on our last visit to the feed store. I'm going to get the winter stuff in within the next month or so in a few patches around the yard and will get the alfalfa going in the spring. We figure to toss some in the yard as well so the girls can eat it fresh as we move the run around.

    They got good treats this afternoon...I took the big stainless steel bowl and scissors out front and filled it up with comfrey, dandelions, thistle, oats and clover. They picked through that pile till bedtime.
     
  10. daoustaj

    daoustaj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They love apples lettuce head, cabbage heads and zuchini from the supermarket too.
     

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