Feeding Hay or Alfalfa Flakes.....is it safe???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ullie, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Ullie

    Ullie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    My Coop
    I've read on this site/forum where people are feeding hay and or Alfalfa flakes to their chickens.

    Then I read and see photos about chickens with impact crops having surgery and their crops are full of hay!

    Just wondering what some of you 'long time' chicken owners think about this and or what your experiences have been??

    Thanks[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My birds have always eaten hay, usually grass hay. When we free ranged, we'd pull the truck in with a ton of hay to unload and in the short time it took to go in the house and get the kiddos to come help, the chickens would be up on the top of the load, checking out the new pickins! They layed in the hay barn, too. I never had a problem with impacted crops or anything like that, but my birds were free ranged and had access to lots of natural grit...we brought in loads of decomposed granite for the horse pens. I know freak accidents do happen, but I think understanding how birds digest their food and having access to proper grit is the key.
     
  3. Ullie

    Ullie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    My Coop
    Thanks, all the grass is gone for now where I am.

    Haven't had chickens since a kid, so want to be careful but not overly.
    I do have lots of natural stone dust/screening and area's of interest in my run.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Alfalfa is actually great for them. The bigger stems are too tough for them to get down and they mostly just want all those little leaves anyway. Good source of protein and calcium. I toss a flake in the coop or run once or twice a week during the winter when there's no green grass in the pasture. If they are going to eat any kind of hay I'd rather it be alfalfa then grass hay. The longer, courser pieces of grass hay are more likely to cause a problem if a chicken overeats it. Although most chickens who roam around a barn where there is hay are not going to be so facinated by it that they stuff themselves with it. Chickens kept in a coop with no access to any hay and suddenly presented with a flake of grass hay may eat to much and could potentially have a problem with it.
     

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