green food items

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cbakerazle, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. cbakerazle

    cbakerazle Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Jan 5, 2008
    Azle, Tx
    My chickens seem to want to eat grass and leaves if no grass is available. When I first let them out they would jump as high as they could to get the few green leaves that dangled into their pen. I started pulling grass for them and they went nuts in it. Loved it. Later when I started letting them run the yard free, they still were crazy for grass. Is grass and other greens something that chickens need? I have seen them eat bugs, mice and snakes also.
    Carol
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    18
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Snakes? Yeah, I can imagine . . .

    Carol, my hens are out often during the Summer. It's always fun to watch them barreling out of the gate, take 3 steps and then it's, "My Gosh, this is grass!!" [​IMG] They'd come to a full stop and eat. The hens would behave this way even if they'd been out twice before on the same day - only, they'd eat less grass after taking those 3 steps.

    Chickens are not ruminants and cannot digest large quantities of fiber. So, they aren't likely to eat very much grass - especially when they can mix in some clover, lettuce, lambs quarters, chick weed, etc. Do they "need" it? Well, to my thinking they do need it but there seems to be a bit of uncertainty about how much pasturing or free ranging can contribute. The numbers I recall having seen were 10% to as high as 30% of their diet, maybe more. It also depends on how much you want them to produce with weight gain or eggs.

    My intention has long been to give the hens all the commercial feed that they want to eat then to have greens of some sort available every day. This seems to make them happy [​IMG] and that's important, too. Through much of the year, they are allowed out on the lawn to find green food for themselves. And, that makes them even more happy! [​IMG]

    Steve
     
  3. cbakerazle

    cbakerazle Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Jan 5, 2008
    Azle, Tx
    Yes, we've seen our chickens eat snakes about 8 inches long. I've seen them kill mice, mostly babies, but an occasional adult, only they couldn't swallow it. That's why I like them to roam around my house, for bug, snake and rodent control. But their droppings are everywhere and huge!:eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by