Free food that we all have at hand

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Churkenduse, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read an article about feeding chickens and this is a big help when our outdoor greens start to fade.

    Weeds! As soon as I heard this I went outside and pulled a nice big one, do not shake the dirt off, it is full of lovely bugs and other goodies they forage for.

    The first time I did this they went nuts and ate everything from the dried leaves to the roots, it took them about 20 minutes to clean it all off. The only thing left were the stems and large roots.

    Free food, yeah..... [​IMG]


    Any other suggestions of what you feed your guys that is cost effective?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  2. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    Yep, I have a love hate relationship with my weeds. I hate how they grow year round, but love that I can toss them to the chickens. I now live in a town that doesn't do yard debris pick up, you are supposed to burn everything, but the weeds at least aren't going to be a problem. Now if I could only figure out what to do with the Christmas tree that is in my driveway. [​IMG]
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I came across a new book the other day, Keeping chickens: the essential guide to enjoying and getting the best from chickens, by Jeremy Hobson & Celia Lewis. Here's what it says about the garden.: "If you have space in your garden, you may consider growing crops especially for feeding to your poultry. Useful feeds to grow include alfalfa, vetches, lettuce, cabbage, kale, millet, and clover. The birds will obviously also appreciate kitchen vegetables that have gone to seed . . . . Weeds . . . chopped dandelion leaves, plantains, shepherd's purse, watercress, and appropriately enough, chickweed."

    As a gardener, I'm planning on doing more this year than just giving the hens things that would otherwise go in the compost. They'll have some veggies growing just for them - animal gardening [​IMG]. Also as a gardener, I know all these weeds and have fed some of them (and more) to the hens. The birds like prickly lettuce better than they like people lettuce [​IMG]!

    What I've found is that if the weeds are chopped, put in a bag, and microwaved for just a minute - the hens will eat every bit of them. There's no rotting mess or tangle of roots and stems left in the yard to rake out later. [​IMG]

    They always have commercial feed in front of them, tho'.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  4. jab91864

    jab91864 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    Dang, all my weeds are buried under the snow !! [​IMG]

    Julie [​IMG]
     
  5. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have that book also the only problem is chickens are not supposed to eat CABBAGEor CHICKWEED just to mention a few. They are toxic
    I have included a site here that lists all the toxic foods and cabbage, chickweed and prickly lettuce are all mentioned.
    I am a certified master gardener I know all about gardening for animals, it is a fun project but I have lots of weeds [​IMG]

    But I am going to plant some greens for them in fact I started to experiment with indoor planting under grow lights.

    I love sprouting, it is fun, cheap fast healthy and clean. Not to mention they love the stuff and I can eat it also. Just tossed some in my soup tonight mmmmmmmmmmmm.

    http://www.poultryhelp.com/toxicplants.html

    I suggest we might bookmark this list to keep on hand we do not want to poison our little ones. [​IMG]

    Here are some quotes:
    Lactuca sariola (PRICKLY LETTUCE); plant may contain toxic levels of nitrates.
    CHICKWEED (Stellaria media); plant may contain toxic levels of nitrates.
    CABBAGE (Brassica sp.); leaves; plant is goitrogenic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  6. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    Yipes. mine eat cabbage all the time. [​IMG]
     
  7. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Douglasville GA
    CABBAGE (Brassica sp.); leaves; plant is goitrogenic.

    Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, i.e. a goitre.

    Chickens do not have thyroids, so cabbage can't affect them in this way.

    Check it out for yourself. [​IMG]
     
  8. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am just passing on what was told to me. On our site BYC
    has a treats list and on the bottom there is a report that states cabbage is toxic. See below.
    I am not here to argue with people that want to be right I would rather be wrong than risk any chance of killing my birds. I found many sites that state cabbage and the like vegges are toxic no one here is a scientist. I personally will not take the chance, would you?

    [​IMG]




    General poisoning notes:
    Brassica oleracea includes common cultivated crops such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. All these vegetables are capable of forming toxic quantities of SMCO, a chemical that can cause hemolytic anemia in livestock. These plants also contain glucosinolates, which can cause goiter. In general, these widely used vegetables are safe for human consumption. Cases of livestock poisoning occur when they are used for animals Glucosinolates contained in kale, cabbage, and broccoli (Brassica oleracea) can cause goiter in humans. These plants cause goiter in less than 5% of cases in humans. The chemicals cause a reduction in performance of young livestock, especially swine and poultry
     
  9. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

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    the birds get all vegtable scraps (besides beans and potato peels and now Cabbage and Broccali) Dogs get meat and the rest birds get the stuff from the garden too we dont grow any toxic things in there.

    henry
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The list on the Rocking T Ranch Horse & Poultry Farm webpage has a number of vegetables commonly eaten by people.

    The list includes clovers (Trifolium spp.) "plant causes photosensitization and contact dermatitis." Yes, those are the white and red clovers used as pasturage and hay crops.

    Because of the possibility of toxic levels of nitrates - many other plants are included on the list. But, numerous forage plants can accumulate nitrates. These include livestock forage such as alfalfa, sudangrass, and corn. Nitrate levels can go up and down in plants. Stress in the field - drought and flooding can be the triggers.

    Brassica species include cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.

    The list is drawn from the Reptile Keeper's Handbook. I don't mean to say that these plants are only toxic to reptiles. They may be toxic to any animal but I think we are moving into an area of "maybe's" and under certain situations. Otherwise, many of our forage crops would need to be removed from farms.

    Steve
     

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