Grass and greens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mendogurl, May 12, 2009.

  1. mendogurl

    mendogurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    So I have been reading a lot about the benefits of diets that are more balanced between vegetables/ grass and corn.
    Anyone grow any vegetables next to their chicken runs so that they can access them regularly ?

    Any other methods for getting them their veggies other than scraps ?
  2. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    My hubby does organic lawncare on the side, and he brings home grass clippings every third mow from others' yards so I can use it for mulch in my gardens and put it in the run The girls eat about half and till the rest under- it makes a great treat!

    I'm growing grapes up the run, too, so they can have an edible arbor.
  3. Becky_H

    Becky_H Chillin' With My Peeps

    My local farmers' market has a big old bin of reduced for fast sale produce that is just dirt cheap. It's stuff about to go off, and I shop there both for my family and the birds. And when I say reduced I mean I got 10 pounds of apples for 1.00
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    My run is a sorta shrubby spot, but that aint what youre asking, I dont think.
    Hmmmm, I've never really grown anything specifically with chickens in mind, except for sunflowers. And those were for shade, primarily.

    But I guess you could just get some things going and then turn the birds loose. Something like Malabar Spinach would be decorative, offer shade AND be nutritious.

    The trouble with chickens is they are indiscreet. They will tear up most any garden plant without regard, especially when the plants are young. You have to protect your plants and produce from them.
    This is probably why most people recommend you feed them, not allow them to graze in the garden.

    But a chicken garden? I can think of a few things to grow that might work out....
  5. mendogurl

    mendogurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    Our run and coop are at one end of our vegetable garden, so there are a lot of things that can get tossed right to them.
    I guess I was wondering if there was any way to grow anything in their run, but I guess they'd wipe it out before it got any
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    An interesting notion I learned recently is to never toss produce and greens to them. They will trample what they dont eat and inevitably, some of it will get aawy to molder and rot.

    Rather, hang it up where they have to jump a little to get to the greens. This is about 18" high. Bundle it or put it in poultry mesh hanger baskets and tack it to a post or hang it by a string.
  7. funkychickenowner

    funkychickenowner Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 30, 2008
    Sussex County NJ
    Be careful of putting too many apples it tends to bring in the bears. Had one rip my fence down to get to them last year now chickens only get 1 apple at a time. anything sweet to meat seems to bring the bears they dont care for greens and veggies though.
  8. mendogurl

    mendogurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    Quote:I wondered about this. But they devour everything sooooooo fast, it doesn't seem like it's too bad. Certainly worth keeping an eye on. There are a few dried strawberries in the run. I made a trough out of a planter, and that seems to contain things a bit.
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I made long raised boxes along the edges of the runs. I can plant things in them, like parsley, collards, marigolds, spinach, etc. and then cover them with wire and lengths of wire shelving. Thus they're protected while they're sprouting & starting to grow, and when they get tall enough to stick through the wire the chickens can snack on them.

    I also have a fast-growing vine that the birds like to snack on. It's a type of purple passion-flower vine that no local caterpillars like to eat. So it grows prolifically, all over the fences. The chickens peck at all the leaves they can reach. Periodically I'll hack off armfulls of vines and put them on the ground for them to reach. It's also good for the ones in tractors where the grass has been denuded. They appreciate getting fresh greens.

    If you have something that grows quickly like that and is not toxic for chickens to eat, try growing it along the fences of your runs.
  10. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    Someone in BYC made a raised frame covered in hardware cloth. They grew grass under it. The chickens could ONLY graze on the tops that popped up through the wires. That way they always had a patch of green in the coop but the chickens couldn't scratch it all up.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by