How much grass should I feed my chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by staz70560, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. staz70560

    staz70560 New Egg

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    Feb 4, 2016
    Hi guys and gals

    I am sure this has been asked and answered before but......

    OK I have six 12 week old chicks. I used this website for everything from building a brooder to feeding and watering to building a coop and a run. It has been great for a noob like me. But I am curious about something and I cannot find the answer.

    My chicks love grass. Their run is 9'x16' of thick grass. Now it is 9'x16' of cleared dirt. I often feed them left over bread pasta and veggies. But they love grass most of all. It has been wet and rainy here so I haven't cut my grass in a while and it has gone to seed. So one day I was working in the yard and the chickens were watching me so I gathered up some of the tops of the grass shoots with seed and threw them into the run. The chickens went nuts for them. At first I thought, cool a treat they love and it's free.

    I also have 4 dogs. I let them out at least six times a day. And every time I walk outside the chicks come running, so I throw them some grass. I was wondering if it is possible to feed them too much grass? They are still eating their feed, they have a 10 pound feeder and I need to refill it once a week. Also is it ok to feed them other types of vegetation? We have lots of clover and wild berries. Also once I start cutting my grass again can I feed them blades of grass and if so how much?

    Thanks in advance for helping out a noob figure it out.
    Maurice
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    We always throw grass clipping to our chickens, and they get to free range all they want. I haven't had any troubles. My lawn has a healthy weed load, so lots of dandelion greens and other delicious stuff, the chickens seem to know what to eat and not eat.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Do you have a bagger on your mower? If so, your problem is solved. Just bag that grass when you mow, and empty the bagger into the run. (otherwise, you'll need to rake it!) IMO, a bare ground is an unhealthy ground, whether it's in the chicken run, or in the garden. God did not design soil to be bare. A nice deep covering of mulch provides so much benefit, it's impossible for me to describe it in a few words. It: provides nutrition for the soil microbes, as well as keeping them sheltered so they can do their work. Feed the microbes, and they feed the soil. It helps prevent weeds from overtaking the area. It fosters the growth of fungi, which also feed the soil. All of that life in the mulch/soil helps to eliminate internal parasites. It calls earthworms and feeds them. They in turn cultivate the soil and leave behind a rich layer of castings. (these are often sold at exorbitant prices as fertilizer) It calls in lots of insects to feast on the bounty. In the run, the chicken poo mixes into the mulch, and further feeds all of that biologic activity. The chickens benefit from the insects and microorganisms/fungi to keep their gut flora balanced. They will feast on the grass clippings and weeds. When they have an abundance available to them they eat what they need, while turning the rest into the best compost you'll ever see. And you don't have to manage it at all. Just give them a nice thick layer of mulch. Grass clippings, leaves, garden debris, wood chips, litter from the coop, and any other compostables you can lay your hands on. I never come back from the dump without a load of cardboard. I use that in the garden and in my orchard.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    You have great responses above. The only thing I have to add is to be sure your birds have a source of grit to grind up that grass. You may have appropriate material in your run, or a bag from the feed store is cheap and easy to get. I don't use a dish to feed mine, I simply scatter it in the run and let them scratch around for it.
     
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  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Excellent job picking up on missed material, DR!!!
     
  6. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    as long as they have grit they can have as much as they want, they are pretty much self regulating with food, they eat enough to fill their caloric need.
     
  7. staz70560

    staz70560 New Egg

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    Feb 4, 2016
    Thanks for the responses.

    They have plenty of sand, gravel and crushed stone for grit. When the yard finally dries out I will throw them some clippings in there for mulch. And I will continue to give them the soft tops of the grass that has gone to seed as treats.

    Maurice
     

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