Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gilmoujr, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. gilmoujr

    gilmoujr Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2013
    Overloaded with Huckleberries. Can some be fed to the chickens?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes they can eat them. If they were free ranging where they could get at them, they’d stuff themselves on them. Don’t overfeed them, maybe what they can clean up in about 10 to 15 minutes, once a day. They’ll get good vitamins and other good nutrients from them.

    Expect the poop to be really dark and maybe a bit runny afterwards. No problems, it just might look different. I’ve fed cooked beet skins before and thought they were pooping blood until I realized what was going on.

    Also don’t be surprised it the yolks are a darker orange than usual.
  3. maxdecphoenix

    maxdecphoenix Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    Aye. Mine go literally ape-**** over huckleberries. Mine will jump up 2-3 feet just to get a crack at landing one. I've let a majority of my two acres in MS return to nature. I have 2 super old trees, and both survived Katrina. 1 is a hickory that's probably 40-50 years, the other is an old Water Oak that's probably 100+ y/o. It drops probably a million acorns every other year or so. For the hickory nuts, the chickens don't eat them whole, but they attract copious amounts of squirrels and they occasional drop one after chewing through to the nut-meat. They love it. And if they don't, the nuts attract all manner of insects. Ant, wood borer, tiny white catapiller looking thing.

    I have plenty of other berry producing shrubs, wild blueberry/huckleberry shrubs. Yaupon hollies that produce thousands of bitter, bright-red berries. The chicks refuse to eat them though. I'm going to see if I can dry them or put them to use some other way. I have also bunches of Chinese ligustrums that produce hundreds of clusters of berries. Chicks haven't acquired a taste for them, but they wont be ripe for a few more weeks. I've found mine like pine nuts. Just collect up all your UNOPENED cones, toss em in the oven, til they open up, turn the cone upside down and shake onto a tray. They'll float down, spiraling their way to the tray.

    I have a few other things. Muscadines, the random American Beautyberry (ducks like them, chickens are somewhat iffy), wild vining blackberries. Some deep red berry that looks like it's in the strawberry family that I noticed sprouted in a ditch last spring. I transferred some of them to an unused bed and it has since taken half of it over. What muscadines they don't get are eatten by rabbit, squirrels and the prolific boxer turtles.

    My birds pillaged my vegetable garden. They go crazy for pole beans. My drake will literally crack them right on the vine and frantically gobble up the beans before the chickens can.

    But above all, they will attack like banshees to get those huckleberries. I have a Black sex-link that will literally lock onto my hand like a laser guided missile if she knows I have a handful. and gobble them up whole. I think I'm going to start pruning them lower. Wild blueberry relatives tend to have an upright posture. I'm going to see if they'll accept pruning to 2-3 feet high max, for a bushier shrub that they can just feast on. Shame that the Yaupon Hollies readily accept any pruning or topiary forms but the berries taste like utter ****.
  4. maxdecphoenix

    maxdecphoenix Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    Also have some Junipers (christmas trees) that produce little blue-indigo berries.
  5. smileybritches

    smileybritches Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would LOVE to be overloaded with them. We get enough for ONE cobbler each Told my mother " naw i dont think the chickens will mess with them" as i turned around to head down to my house the chickens are leapin 4 ft up to eat them...sigh

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by