Stinging nettles????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nanawendy, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. nanawendy

    nanawendy Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    Bellingham Wa
    So I was wondering if the fact that we have stinging nettles OUTSIDE our run( on the corral side) could have a bad effect on the girls if they eat it. DH thinks it is a good deterrent for critters. [​IMG] I'm not so sure. Our girls eat anything that is green... Will stinging nettles hurt them?
  2. 3LittleChickadees

    3LittleChickadees Hatching

    May 13, 2010
    moonStitch farm
    The stinging nettles don't do much to deter predators on our land. But if you cut them down the girls will chow on them for sure. They are an excellent source of nutrition. (for humans too!) Our livestock and ducks love to forage in them.
    If you let your chickens out to free range, the nettles can provide a good hiding place and a bit of shade.
  3. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Songster

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    Critters with beaks, fur or feathers aren't bothered in the least by stinging nettle. Only we "naked apes" have that problem. Some people actually cook it and eat it as a vegetable. My Irish grandmother would yank a bunch and pulverize it with leftover bread, sour milk, whey and potato peels to make crumbles for her chickens. I wish I could remember her rhyme but the gist was if you grab it firmly you don't get stung.
  4. tatiana916

    tatiana916 In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2011
    I fed my girls nettles this morning. I cut them down and let them sit in boiling water for 20mins, then mashed them all up with a bit of poultry spice. They were a but dubious to start off with but when I checked later it had all been gobbled up! So thankfully I've found a use for all the nettles in my garden finally!
  5. conny63malies

    conny63malies Crowing

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    Stinging nettles in germany are sometimes used for tea, or even sauted. So there should be no issue for your girls. I know goats love them.
  6. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    wow and I have been walking way around them for years [​IMG] they hurt too!!
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I think they may sting less in the earliest part of spring and when wet, after a good rain. Cooking them or drying them inactivates the sting, if you want to eat or feed them.

    My chickens never eat them fresh. My sheep never did, either. We get them any place the wild birds poop, along with bramble and nightshade. All the good stuff! [​IMG]

    Darn seeds are tough on the way through their digestive tracts.

    If you use gloves that are cloth, they can soak through after awhile and start stinging your hands. Now I use a long handled weeder or spray with vinegar. Either way, the tops end up drying out, before I handle them.
  8. TERRY4

    TERRY4 Songster

    Mar 7, 2012
    Jeromesville, Ohio
    We started recently feeding nettles to the girls. They love them! I collect them with leather barn gloves on.
  9. Boristheblessed

    Boristheblessed Hatching

    Jan 9, 2017
    My wife and her mother used to feed nettle to baby chickens and ducklings. There was no mortality issues with them unlike those people who purchased from the same batch. The birds would grow faster and stronger than those that did not have this feed.
    Gavin.F likes this.
  10. enrgizerbunny

    enrgizerbunny Chirping

    Mar 7, 2016
    Nettles can be blanched and used as a substitute for spinach. Some say it makes better cream spinach than actual spinach. It also can be cut, shredded and made into pellets for feed. It can also be processed and used as a fiber for clothing or paper.

    Stinging Nettle requires high amounts of nitrogen like tobacco (bird poop!) and is being tested/researched as an alternate crop for small tobacco farmers as price support is eliminated.

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