Growing food for chickens (for winter)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickensducks&agoose, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. I want to plant things that will grow here (northern new england) that my birds can eat in the winter. We're kind of broke, and DH says we either grow our own feed or we have less birds [​IMG] so I choose to grow something... i'm thinking sunflowers (what kind?) and maybe some squash?

  2. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm interested in doing a similar thing; use the search feature and you will find, with loads of reading, alternatives to feed chickens. One person cans fish scraps; I clean out the 'frig and give some meat to dogs and some to chicks (8 weeks). Some root vegies also mentioned. I'm thinking of canning more winter squash because the squash in the root cellar only lasts until Feb or March.

    Not sure if this is reasonable, but I envision greens that last well into winter like kale; and drying others that grow in excess like spinach. My mother grew a huge sorrel plant, I remember it being 3 feet tall and wide, with huge leaves. Didn't need any special attention and grew up every year. Wish I could find sorrel.

    WE grew and dried beans one year. let the pods dry on the vine and then harvest; seems chickens need the beans cooked before serving though. You might rethink who is fed first; feed you first and left overs to the chickens.

    Start checking out free feed sources, like grocery stores and resturants. May be friends and neighbors, too. I have an aunt that call me when she cleans out her freezer: my dogs have a feast.

    I'm sure there are many more ideas out there. GL
  3. taprock

    taprock Songster

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    I'm planting BOSS and cabbage to keep to give during the winter. Mine didn't care for winter squash or pumpkin last year. They liked summer squash but that won't keep. I was told for summer to do Swiss Chard that it was a chicken favorite. I did feed cooked beans to them as a treat and they really liked it. Also a friend boiled up just regular oats and their chickens loved it.
  4. lady feathers

    lady feathers Chirping

    Nov 29, 2010
    My chicks love carrots hoping they continue with that as those should keep well packed in sawdust in our root cellar. Also they love brocolli and cauliflower I might try freezing it and then thawing it out before giving it to them!
  5. packmomma

    packmomma Songster

    Mar 10, 2009
    Argos, IN
    I am actually making a greenhouse. I'll let you all know how that goes. [​IMG] Its going to be a summer long event because what I was planning on using in way of free lumber turned out to be no good. [​IMG] It will cost us a chunk but I want one to grow food for us as well. Cold weather vegetables will I"m sure be what I have out there. Spinach,lettuce,kale, collard greens, carrots, peas, maybe even potatoes. I am going to try to grow some kidney or navy beans out there too. We will see but those would be my suggestions. You could dehydrate them, can them, or freeze them. I dont think chickens will care much. Mine rather liked spagetti squash and pumpkins. Spagetti squash is a winter squash and will keep fairly well. I prefer acorn myself. [​IMG]

    Greenhouse goals.
    1. Dont make us more poor than we already are.
    2. grow the above mentioned food during Nov-Feb
    3. Make my husband see its worth the money [​IMG]
  6. plantoneonme

    plantoneonme In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2011
    I grow salad greens in my basement all winter long...spinach, various lettuces, beet greens, radish greens and more. I use the 4 ft long "shop lights" with flourescent bulbs, just the plain cheap white ones. I have a 4 ft long shelf with 5 racks from which I suspend the lights from chains to move up as the greens grow. I just go down with a small pair of scissors and cut off some leaves from lots of different plants and they keep growing. I have started new ones from seed but find that if they are a couple inches tall before going into the basement, I can eat them much sooner. I am sure it could work for chickens as well.

    I also have grown the tops of carrots as a science project with my granddaughter and bet your chickens would like them. Take the cut off tops of carrots and place in a tray of water filled with small stones. The green tops will beging to grow. You could them feed them to the chickens.

    Kale grew well in my garden and I was able to harvest some for soup even when completely frozen outside. I just went and broke off a frozen chunk to add to my soup. I hear chickens love kale as well.

    Well I'm out of ideas for now [​IMG]
  7. Kezzie

    Kezzie Songster

    Feb 15, 2009
    Coastal Georgia
    Quote:I would think you would have to be careful with sorrel because of its oxalic acid content. Does anyone know for sure?

  8. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    That's a good point--I don't know about the oxalic content of sorrel. Just know it made one of the tastiest soups I've ever had. Maybe it's one of those "in moderation" things to eat.

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