Salad-loving hen eating my lettuce!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenslave, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. chickenslave

    chickenslave Hatching

    Jun 4, 2008
    Hello chicken experts,

    A single 5-month-old Bantam hen lives in my small backyard, and I give her commercial feed. There is no grass in the backyard, and since she arrived 2 months ago she has gradually developed a taste for the 20 lettuce heads growing there. I have covered them with chicken wire, but she manages to shred them thoroughly by pecking through the wire. Today I came home to discover she had eaten more lettuce than I normally do! I need chicken psychology help.

    If I plant grass in the backyard, will the hen ignore it and keep eating the lettuce?
    Why is she eating so much greenery? Do other hens need a bowl-full of greens every day?
    I plan to build a tall framed chicken-wire enclosure to keep the chicken out. Will the lack of greens make her sick?
    Is there an easy greenery substitute which I can give her? I don't want to buy lettuce just to feed to her.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    Best Wishes,
  2. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    My hens love greens, and I'm sure yours is targeting the lettuce as there is no others for it to eat. Greens, and fruit are natural favorites, and probably help keep them healthy. I find my eggs taste far better as well.

    Perhaps you could find some substitutes to feed it. Any country roads nearby that you could gather some weeds, and grass? (Do some study first on whats safe for them to eat)

    How about a neighbor that mows his lawn and you could offer to rake up the cuttings? Check to make sure he hasn't used herbicides on it, or weed and feed type fertilizer. If they have a weedy lawn, you could buy a weed puller, and offer to pull his weeds for him. I throw a bucket full of pulled lawn weeds in to my birds, every second day. I can avoid using chemicals on my lawn to rid it of weeds, and give the birds a diet supplement at the same time.[​IMG] I have seen no reduction in egg laying, as I insure that their main diet is still laying pellets. They need to maintain their protein levels

    Often grocery stores have fruits and veggies that are slightly wilted, and just toss them out. Usually they will give them to you for the asking. You may have to sort out the best parts, but it is a good source. I give my birds cut up apples, papaya skins, salad trimmings, etc..

    Planting a lawn is a good idea, but you would need to fence it off from the bird initially, or the seedlings will get eaten before they ever get a chance to grow. Unless it's a big lawn area, it may not last long. Chances are the bird will denude it pretty fast.

    Lastly, you could build a real fence around your lettuce to protect it...[​IMG]
  3. Eggseronious

    Eggseronious Songster

    Mar 6, 2008
    East Tennessee
    Chickens love lettuce! Oh by the way I bet she is using Ranch Dressing. [​IMG] U will have to put her up or build a fence.
  4. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    my hens will eat anything I want out of my garden over out acre of grass the garden is fence though [​IMG] and they have not figured out how to get in yet.

  5. spatcher

    spatcher Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Get a big head of cabbage and cut it up like coleslaw. Keep it in a bag in the fridge and give her a handful when she's looking at the lettuce lol
  6. Emma's Eggs

    Emma's Eggs Hatching

    Jul 6, 2008
    Quote:What kind of fence do you have around your garden that is keeping the chickens out?

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