Grass, Grass,grass!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicklette 1, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Chicklette 1

    Chicklette 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    997
    1
    121
    Jul 8, 2010
    Kentucky
    I'm still a very new chickenista but when I started pulling a little grass for my baby chicks to eat, I saw how much they loved it. I have been giving it to them ever since because they have not always had access to it in the pens that I kept them in. I know that with my new large pen for them, there will be grass for a while but with time and also the winter season, it will all be gone.
    I did a couple of experiments with our grass clippings and I think they will work. First, after realizing that the grass dries out and becomes useless very quickly, I decided to store some in the refrigerator as you would any leafy veggy. It kept very well (over a week at least), and I just threw it on top of their shavings after they had eaten some from my hand, and it is gone in no time. Well, I took this one step further and decided to try freezing it for the winter months as a treat and guess what??.........it worked. Now I have a freezer loaded with about 10 ziplock bags of grass clippings.........no food anymore........just grass clippings!!
    Maybe this has been discussed somewhere else in the forum, but since I haven't seen it, I thought I would throw it out there. I'm gathering the clippings now before the leaves start falling and the clippings get a lot of dried leaves in them.
    Hope this will be helpful to other people as I am thrilled that I will have clippings for them over the winter.
    There is one serious problem........I am running out of freezer space between clippings and frozen bottles of water to help beat the heat. Oh well, chickens first!
     
  2. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    300
    5
    128
    Apr 23, 2010
    My chicks loved to get grass as treats too. A couple questions/concerns though:

    -Are your chicks getting grit? if not, you NEED to give them some or they can't digest the grass and it will kill them. Also, make sure you cut it into tiny pieces - if you're cutting long blades of grass for them that can really bind them up also, even if they have grit.

    -Treats should make up a very small percentage of what your chicks are eating when they're small, they need a LOT of protein to grow.

    -When you say "no food anymore", it sounds like you may be planning to save the grass to feed to them exclusively? It's fine as a treat, but it's very important that chickens get a balanced diet. Free-range chickens can sometimes do okay without feed in the summer b/c they get to eat bugs and all kinds of good stuff, but grass alone will not give your chickens what they need. Especially when they are babies!
     
  3. Chicklette 1

    Chicklette 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    997
    1
    121
    Jul 8, 2010
    Kentucky
    They are getting chicken starter food, and grit freely all day and night. The grass is just used as a treat until they get into their new pen and can eat grass when they want to. I was really thinking of how nice it would be to give them the grass treat in the winter when it is not available naturally. I am gradually adding foods like left over cooked corn, watermelon for the heat, lettuce, strawberries, and apples. They get some of these things a couple times a day. I am now adding scratch to their diet in small amounts maybe a couple times a week. They are about 8 or 9 weeks old now and seem to be nice and healthy. So far, so good!
    Thanks you for your concern about the grass. If the economy doesn't get better, the grass may start to look good to me!!
     
  4. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    300
    5
    128
    Apr 23, 2010
    Sorry, guess I misunderstood - sounds like your chicks are going to be eating well year round! I might try freezing some grass/other greens for mine and see how it works, that's a good idea.

    I have a bunch of kale in my garden that should overwinter, so I'll probably share some of that with the chickens. I was thinking I might also try sprouting some trays of oat grass in the house this winter to give to them as treats, since I do that to keep the cats out of the houseplants anyway.
     
  5. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

    397
    1
    111
    Jun 17, 2010
    Pflugerville, TX
    I like the idea of refrigerating/freezing grass clippings! Never woulda thought of it on my own, so thanks for sharing [​IMG]
     
  6. le neige homme

    le neige homme Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    0
    89
    Jul 15, 2010
    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  7. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,459
    30
    168
    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    I just realized how much my chicks love grass/weeds. We have irritating weeds called "molasses grass". Wild birds seem to love the seed stalks and we have been pulling the seed stalks and giving them to the chicks (7-8 weeks old). I recently was trying to find some bugs, grubs or little worms to give to the chickens and pulled up a big bunch of molasses grass. I threw the whole thing in the chicken coop thinking they would enjoy the wet dirt and roots and maybe find some bugs while scratching through it. Well they just started tearing off bits of the grass and chowing down. So now every morning I pull up a couple clumps of weeds and toss them into the chicken coop. The chickens love it and it gets rid of some of those dumb weeds that insist on growing all over!
     
  8. blondi3122

    blondi3122 Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    24
    Jun 25, 2012
    Kula, Maui
    Christie, I live in Maui. I have what they call centipede grass all over my lawn (you probably know what that is?). My chicks (7 weeks, 10 weeks & 12 weeks) NEED grass. I have been plucking it & feeding it to them. But I just lost one because she was eat8ing too big of pieces & it plugged her all up. :( I have been cutting the grass into tiny pieces but they go through it like it's nothing & it's alot of work! I liv ein Kula (up on Haleakala) so I'm not sure if those weeds grow here as it's a much cooler climate (hot during the day but cold at night). I was wondering if you have any tips? They need grass but I can't let them out of the pen.
     
  9. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,459
    30
    168
    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    You sure it was cuz of the grass? Gosh now I am worried. Your poor chick. Do your chicks have access to dirt so they can get some grit in their crop? I usually don't cut up the grass at all. I pull up the roots and toss the whole thing in so they can scratch at the roots and maybe find bugs. Then they have to pluck pieces of grass off the bunch and it seems to take them a little longer to eat it and ends up in smaller pieces.
    They have access all the time to their regular food? Like the chicks aren't too hungry when they get the grass?
     
  10. akovia

    akovia Chillin' With My Peeps

    94
    4
    81
    Apr 1, 2012
    Hillsboro, OR
    Grass cuttings can cause impacted crop if too much is available without grit. Having chooks free range harvest slows their rate of consumption but they still need grit in the crop to grind the long grass fibers.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by