Feeding alfalfa seed as a supplement or folage replacement?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by whitg, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. whitg

    whitg In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    Touchet, WA
    Anyone ever heard of feeding alfalfa seed as a supplement or replacement for greens? Why I ask is because we have an alfalfa seed plant a few miles from our house and was thinking about their waste product. I know some people like to feed rabbit alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay and it got me thinking about it. How much would be good in a 50 lb bag of pellets or seed. Anyone know?

  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I have no idea, but call the expert at the plant, and your state poultry vet, at the vet school, or a poultry nutritionist, again at the vet school. Rabbits do better on grass hay, but that's not relevant here. Mary
  3. Nupe

    Nupe Songster

    Jun 13, 2014
    If I had access to cheap or free alfalfa seeds, I would grow it as fodder for my chickens. That would most definitely put some color into your eggs!
  4. MysteriaSdrassa

    MysteriaSdrassa Chirping

    May 26, 2015
    Central Wisconsin
    I'm not sure what the protein content of the actual seed would be. As a feed source though, I would think it much more economical to use it in a fodder system. Or, if you have a large area for your chickens take it out and broadcast spread it with a lawn feeder. You would probably have to keep your girls contained for a few days until it takes hold and starts growing. Alfalfa as a green feed source runs right around 20% protein and drops slightly when dried or turned to silage. Pellets can be slightly higher.
    Of course, even better than alfalfa for fodder/pasture would be White Clover. It's protein content runs around 25% and slightly lower when dried or made into silage. As a pasture it does not grow very tall making it ideal for chickens and they find it more palatable than alfalfa.
    A word of warning though,, if using clover as a forage for chickens, be sure to use White only or keep others to a very low minimum. Other varieties like red and crimson clovers can contain levels of cyanide that could potentialy harm chickens. My pasture area for my birds is 2 acres of White clover with a sprinkling of alfalfa, red clover and timothy mixed in. The red clover, timothy and alfalfa are remnants of a field originaly planted for dairy cattle and doesn't contain enough red clover to pose a threat to my birds.
  5. glib

    glib Songster

    Dec 8, 2007
    Yes, the proteins become much more available when alfalfa becomes fodder. I wonder, though, why the plant should give up seed which can germinate.
  6. whitg

    whitg In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    Touchet, WA
    Thanks! I'll call tomorrow and ask prices [​IMG]
  7. Marandaise

    Marandaise In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2015
    Do you have a good source for large amounts of forage range mix?

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