Do my chickens NEED grass to stay healthy?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by GimmeCake, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Songster

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    I've heard the amount of grass available to your flock affects their plumage, even if you feed them other foods (e.g. Flock Block, Layer Feed, Meal Worms, ect). Is this true?
     
  2. I wouldn't doubt it. Grass is full of nutrients, and very healthy to your flock, not counting the bugs they find
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Chickens rely on grass to supply micro nutrients missing in a natural diet. While supplying a good quality layer feed is always a good idea for hens in production, fresh greens (grass/clover/kale/spinach, etc) helps keep the crop in good condition. Not to mention chlorophyll is a natural detoxifier. And adding grass gives the chickens food variety they crave.
     
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  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

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    Agree with what others have already said. Chooks fed a diet not including greens do not produce the quality of flesh nor eggs chooks fed greens do, and as a directly linked effect they also lack the supreme health of chooks fed greens. The eggs and meat have a dull, dead taste to them and get rank if not fed greens, in my experience.

    If you absolutely cannot feed grass for whatever reason, try adding greens like nettle, kale, kelp, etc to their diet. I use kelp as a constant staple, as it is a complete vitamin and mineral supplement, and nettle is its second-best and equivalent for nutrience levels. Kelp is also an endocrine regulator and can get old non-layers back into regular production. My chooks did not really like kale though. Grass is not overly high in nutrients compared to some of the other plants named, but it is an excellent thing to keep regular in their diet because as theoldchick said, it serves as a detoxifier by its very composition. Regular gentle detoxes prevent so many diseases from developing, it's amazing. You will be saving yourself much future trouble by making grass available.

    But there are many varieties of various plants, so even if one species is documented as having a certain nutrient profile, it's good to remember that there are many ornamental varieties of plants that have been developed from non ornamental types, so the medicinal/nutritional profile can vary to a huge degree between different strains of the same species. If one type does not seem to deliver, switch, don't give up. Your chooks will be so much healthier for it.
     
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  5. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Songster

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    If I pulled some grass out from other places (outside the run) and give it to the chickens at least once every day or two, will that help? Or do they only like to eat grass that's still in the ground?
     
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    I don't think chickens care where their grass comes from as long as it hasn't been treated with weed/insect killers. They also love untreated dandelions. My friend has 4 house chickens and they don't get any grass and are doing just fine .
     
  7. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

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    Feeding grass, weeds and even alfalfa makes your eggs taste so much better.

    I sprout all winter long for orange yolks.
     
  8. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    I pull grass,clover and such out of the ground and give it to my chickens. I like to give young fresh grass.

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    You can feed them other foods to supplement the diet
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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Do my chickens NEED grass to stay healthy?

    No, they don’t NEED grass to stay healthy. They are not going to drop dead if they don’t get an occasional bite of grass or other green stuff. The chicken feed you buy is a complete ration to keep them healthy. Need is one thing. Better is another.

    I agree the eggs are better and they get a better variety of nutrients with some green stuff. It doesn’t have to be grass; weeds, garden trimmings, kitchen wastes, things like that are great for them.
     
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  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    I value grass / living greens most when balance of diet is marginal. Supplies more than nutrients, also non-nutritive bulk which helps with gut function and cleaning up manure. When criteria for need are physical performance, then grass is a requirement.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
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