Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by turbo13, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. turbo13

    turbo13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2010
    Is feeding orchard hay ok for chickens?
  2. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    It's ok for them to have some if they like it. Mine prefer alfalfa though, they love to go around the bales and clean up the leafy powdery stuff that falls out when I break the bales up.
  3. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    wow I did not know they like alfalfa...I have a bag left over that my guinea pigs refuse to eat. and I wasn't sure what to do with it. My guinea pigs prefer orchard hay. So now that i know this I will give them little bits here and there. thanks for the info :)
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Wow, this is the first time I've heard of using any kind of hay as a feed for chickens. I've read lots of debate on here about hay vs. straw in the nesting boxes. One of the debates is which one they are more likely to eat. People express this concern because of the occurrence of impacted crops from eating hey or straw (hay seems to be more likely to cause this.) I can see their eating the dust from it, the little pieces, but.... But then I have no idea what orchard hay is. I just go to the feed store, buy a bale of hay, and use it in the nest boxes. I hae no idea what kind it is.
  5. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    They typically won't eat the big stemmy pieces, just the easily swallowed leafy bits.

    It doesn't really work well as a feed by itself that I am aware of. It just makes a nice toy/treat to keep them busy.
  6. Warthog

    Warthog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2009
    I think you do need to be careful with the long bits.

    Some months ago one of my younger chicks must have taken a piece from the nesting box. When I saw her she had a 6-7inch piece sticking out of her beak, the rest inside. Didn't seem to bother her much, but bothered me a lot. I went indoors got the siscors and cut the piece off right at the beak. After that she was OK. She may have been Ok if I had left it, just wasn't taking any chances.
  7. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
  8. turbo13

    turbo13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2010
    Hi. I bought the orchard hay as a jump up to the roost.They don't seem to eat much.Wanted straw,but all they had was hay.
  9. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Mine would eat entire bales a month in winter of either straw or hay with no issues. Personally I think those who have suffered problems from it had something else going on. An already existing health issue that made them more sensitive, didn't eat enough grit, or decided to eat only an excessive amount of hay for several days. Nearly everyone I know uses hay or straw in the nest box and has their chickens eat a fair amount of it with problems being rare.
  10. Pine Grove

    Pine Grove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2007
    Lakeland, Ga
    40 years with chickens and I've never known them to eat hay..must be missing something in their diet..

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