How often can I feed my girls greens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bribrewster, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. bribrewster

    bribrewster In the Brooder

    Sep 24, 2014
    It's winter here of course so the girls haven't been able to forage and roam the yard and even when they do everything is dead so there aren't many options for fresh greens. I've been giving them kale, spinach, etc. about every other day because from what I've read those foods are still considered a "treat." I'm wondering though how often can my girls have greens? I would think since in the spring and summer they'll be eating grass, bugs, weeds, etc. all day that I could give them greens every day, but I want to make sure!

    Thank you!
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Yes, they can have greens daily, but it is best to keep them to a low percentage of total feed intake. Some people quote 10% -
  3. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    They can have free choice greens. I pasture my girls, so they can eat all they want. Grass is not like bread, pasta, etc, which you don't want to over feed. Don't cut back/replace their feed with greens though, since they need more than that to lay.
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Your over looking a number of things.
    One -- Vegetation is hard for chickens to digest, there not cattle, goat, or sheep which can digest vegetation well.
    Two -- The more treats like pasture and greens your birds eat the more there depleting and throwing off there real food like there poultry feed.

    Anything other than there poultry feed should be limited to 10% of there total diet if your feeding a good poultry feed that is 18% protein or better. If your feeding a low end feed that is say 16% protein I wouldn't offer anything in the form of treats or if you did keep it at 10% of there diet twice a week.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    This has been my experience:

    A chicken kept in a pen with no grass can overconsume greens as they get excited about the "treats." There is a mad dash to the pile of grass clippings and to my astonishment ALL of the grass clippings were gone. Who would have imagined they would have eaten all those in one day??? [​IMG]

    But my chickens kept on a grassy field self-regulate. This is the best way, but not everyone can do it. And then when I throw them additional grass clippings they scratch and peck at them but it is vastly different from the starved-for-greens attack on the grass clipping pile of the aforementioned chickens.

    I hope this helps!

    *Remember to keep grass clippings short, at say 2-3 inches for adult fowl and much shorter than that for youngsters to prevent impacted crop. I start my chicks on tiny tiny grass clippings (just a few little pieces per chick) at about 1 week of age. But then they require chick grit when you do this.

    So when you are tossing them spinach and other potentially long greens keep this in mind and it might be good to chop them up a bit.
  6. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    Yes, some vegetation can be hard for them to digest, tough grasses such as fesques, sedges, etc, especially. But they usually leave those plants and prefer more tender variety's such as clover, weeds, and other more tender grasses. It is natural for them to eat vegetable matter though. I have watched wild turkeys graze across a field for hours. I have never had a problem with my birds having trouble digesting it.

    My birds are fed 16% protein fermented feed, which consists of about 60% of their diet. The other 40% consists of vegetable matter, meat scraps, kitchen scraps, black soldier flys, red worms, and much much more. All of my birds are healthy, happy, and most importantly, laying extremely well.
    Last year I raised a batch of black sex link roosters. As an experiment I moved them through an area where we had fed hay the previous winter,
    so they had access to both pasture and lots of decomposing hay and manure. I fed them a gallon of feed a day, for 18 birds. When we put them in the freezer at 5 months old, we were very impressed with how well they had filled out. They weighed 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 lbs.

    I would much rather my birds be eating more ''treats'' and scraps than expensive feed, if that makes sense.

    I agree totally. I like to give my birds whole clumps of grass including the roots so that they can peck off small pieces which they can easily eat.

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