Growing a chicken garden?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ninny, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. ninny

    ninny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2007
    IL side of the QCA
    What can i grow for my birds? Im thinking of stuff that will grow like crazy so i can store it in the winter to feed them with. What type of sunflower would be the best?
  2. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    Any garden's a chicken garden [​IMG] ... our chickens get a lot of leftovers and scraps from our regular vegetable garden all through the growing season, and they will happily eat almost anything from discarded damaged tomatos to the greens left over from our radish picking.

    For winter feed, plant winter squash. Winter squash varieties are typically hard shelled, and will keep well into the winter, hence the name (they aren't named that for being planted in the winter). They are easy to grow, easy to store, and you get a large volume of food for your efforts (though they do need a fair bit of garden space). Just cut a squash in half and put in your chicken run to serve dinner. Also, spinach and kale will grow late into the growing season, and cabbage will grow well into early winter or through it, depending on your climate. You can also grow kale, spinach, cabbage, and carrots under a cold frame with straw for protection.

    A lot depends on your climate, though. I live in Maryland, and if we go to the work of tenting our tomatos in the late fall, we can usually plan on picking the last of them shortly before Thanksgiving.

    I can't help you on the sunflowers. I've planted whatever I found at the store. It makes for a good treat, but I've never put much work into them, nor have I ever gotten a very good yield.
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I plant bird seed. Try to get blends that dont have a lot of cracked corn or rice
  4. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    For sunflowers you want to give them Black Oil Sunflower seeds. Just buy a bag that is being sold for feeding birds. I found that most of them germinate. A few seeds will go a long way. This last spring I planted 4 rows that were 30' long each. I planted the seeds about 3" to 4" apart. When they were a few inches tall I thinned the plants to about 1' apart. They grew very well. As soon as the seeds started forming (the flowers were still in full bloom) I started cutting two seed heads every couple of days to put in my chicken run. I would leave about a 2' steam with leaves attached. The chickens would eat all the seeds, flower petals, and leaves. A short time latter only the stem and an empty seed head remained. These went into the compost pile. I was able to feed seeds like this starting around Aug 1 and lasting until mid October. I did not try to keep any of the seeds for the winter. Next year I will probably plant at twice as many or more. I will be more than doubling the size of my flock. I currently have 17 pullets. I am going to add 20 - 25 more in April.

    Other favorites from the garden for the chickens were ripe tomatoes and zucchini. Around here zucchini grows extremely well. I gave the chickens all of my extra zucchini. Plus a nearby relative gave me their extra zucchini. The chickens loved it. I would just throw the entire zucchini in the run. No need to cut it up for them. Next year I am going to plant 2 extra hills of zucchini just for feeding to the chickens. Corn on the cob was also very popular with the chickens. After the corn got to mature for us to eat I started giving the chickens a few ears a couple of times a week. Nothing went to waste in our garden this year. The chickens ate pretty much everything.

    By the way, chickens even love weeds. I would weed the garden and dump the wheelbarrow in their run. A couple of days latter I would rake up the remains (primarily stems) to dump in the compost pile. Very little went into the compost pile this year.

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