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Oh How they Love Chickweed!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CluckyJay, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been giving large amounts of chickweed to the new chickens. Man they seem so happy and perky since getting it. That guy that had them was pretty old and sick so he couldn't do stuff like that with them. I hope they give us enough eggs I can send some to him as a big thank you for the free hens!
     
  2. Twiggers96

    Twiggers96 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Possibly the stupidest question I've ever asked, but, where does one acquire chick weed?
    Do you (you) grow it from seed?
     
  3. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    We have lots and lots of chickweed around here as well. I was happy to discover that there is something they like to eat still growing here in January.
     
  5. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love chickweed. Picking it seems to encourage more to grow (by shaking the seeds out over a wider area, I suppose). It's an excellent plant to have around.

    Incidentally, you can use it in salads and soups yourself.

    Just watch out, there's a weed that looks very similar and isn't edible. It often grows right next to chickweed. The way to tell the difference is to examine the stem closely. Chickweed has a thin single line of hairs growing vertically up each stem, while the weed stem is hairy all round. Also if you break the stem in half, chickweed contains a long thin string (not there in the similar weed).

    cheers
    Erica
     
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    You can also buy seed online from a couple of places, if you don't have any in your yard and want to grow some.
     
  8. Liberty Nursery

    Liberty Nursery Out Of The Brooder

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    I stumbled across chicken weed when my young chickens would escape the coop and go straight for it, They would gobble it up faster than anything I would them. I took it to the local garden shop where the owner is probably the most helpful person in the world with a wide variety of things. He told me it was chickweed. I asked him where I could get the seeds and how to propagate it and he gave off a slight chuckle as he told me the seeds were everywhere laying dormant waiting for the right conditions to grow. He also told me it was too late in the year to grow it because its a cold weather plant. It grows in late winter and is usually the first weed to take over a bare area. Which is where it was growing, areas I had killed off the grass. It was growing up through the pine needles I had laid down last summer. I plan to propagate it by creating the ideal conditions and letting it just naturally come up. I have laid down landscaping fabric in the areas I want it to grow next winter/spring and in January or earlier I will remove the fabric. Basically I will just be moving my nursery plants from point A to point B every winter since I always plot them down on landscaping fabric anyways. then I will build a temp fence around it and a temp fenced walkway from the coop to the area. Let them graze on that in the spring. If this works out I will start up a thread on how to do this in detail.

    As far as what Erica posted about using in salads and soups, I tasted it to see if it tasted good and it does but I spit it out because I had no idea if it would make humans sick. Next year I am going to harvest some for myself too and put it on my chicken sandwiches. It has a very fresh type of taste like fresh raw spinach but a different and milder flavor.
     
  9. jacksson515

    jacksson515 Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree with debid, everyone has chickweed. lol But, I didn't know about the lookalike, I will now go in the yard and look at my chickweed or similar. Haven't fed it to my baby turken chicks and runner ducks yet.
     
  10. glib

    glib Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the hairy chickweed is not very tasty for humans, but for chickens it is just as good. I have both of course, inside the garden where they are not allowed (I try to garden 12 months a year, with hoop houses, so there is seldom a good time to give them access. the deer fence keeps them out).
     

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