My chickens are eating pine needles

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Yard full o' rocks, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. My chickens free range (almost daily) and when doing so they have access to a green field that is approx 1 acre, planted in winter wheat, clover and chickory. Its really a plot for feeding/sustaining the deer but my chickens use it mostly

    Recently, I noticed that my girls are eating green pine needles when they are out. Even climbing up limbs to get to them....

    In their coop I have them on layer feed which they eat with no problems and they have access to the coop even when they free range.

    Was wondering if something was "missing" in their diet which is causing them to eat pine needles??!! I can't imagine that they taste very good!!

    I do feed them treats somewhat regularly too. Usually a cup of scratch feed in the AM and whatever veggies are leftover from dinner.

    Any thoughts? Reason for concern?


  2. jamz

    jamz In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    Southern Maine
    What you imagine tastes good and what tastes good to a chicken are probably, I'm guessing, miles and miles apart. [​IMG]
  3. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    A lot depends on what type of pine they are eating. Here is some interesting tidbits on the types of pine needles.

    White pine needles have been tested for nutritional benefits, and they have good yields of vitamin A and about 5 times as much vitamin C as found in lemons.

    If it is Ponderosa pine - not so good. (Follow link.) pine.htm

    I'm not sure why your chickens are eating them, but I hope its because they are enjoying the tang of some extra vitamin C.​
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  4. gr8fuldylan

    gr8fuldylan Hatching

    Sep 19, 2009
    My girls have been pecking at a small juniper that's in their run, I'm thinking too that it's the Vitamin C.

  5. cluckychick

    cluckychick Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    I've read that some ppl use pine needles as a natural (herbal) wormer for their goats so why wouldn't they have the same effect on chickens?

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