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Swiss chard, silverbeet, beets and beetroot

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by yankiwi, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. yankiwi

    yankiwi In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2010
    New Zealand West Coast
    Most people with a vegetable garden and chickens know that chickens love Swiss chard. In New Zealand Swiss chard is called silverbeet. I found out it is in the beet family but doesn't grow an edible bulbous root. (Kiwis call beets beetroot.)
    I needed to clear out some of last year's beets to top up my garden so I thought I'd throw it in my girlsÂ’ run and see what happened. They ate the tops off almost as fast as they devour silverbeet and after a few days have nearly eaten the whole 75mm (3") beetroot. They normally free range when I'm home but I gave them another one the other day when they were going to be confined again. I also gave them cooked beets which they loved even better than the raw ones but I like the idea of giving them something they can't devour in a few minutes.
    Beets are on the list of what can be fed to chickens.
    JoycieBoycie likes this.

  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Hey yeah, I grew up on "Silver Beet" which my dad always grew. Then I moved to the US as an adult and started my own garden a couple of years ago. I heard people talk about Swiss Chard but had no idea what it was. I found some Swiss Chard seeds and decided to throw them in the ground. A few weeks later I learned that Swiss Chard is Silver Beet! I've never heard anyone else call it this (or realize they are one and the same) until this post!

    My girls actually don't like the Silver Beet that much. I am also growing Rainbow Chard this year and they like that okay. I can't tell a taste difference but apparently there is one. However I am also growing Kale and Collards and they go nuts over those. Given the choice between any of the chards and Kale or Collards, the Chard won't get eaten.
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Thanks for the great tip on beets as a long-lasting treat. I usually grow beets but often don't get around to harvesting or lack the energy to prepare them, so I'll direct them towards the chickens. My chickens go crazy for swiss chard and also for the huge leaves of cauliflower. They have been ho-hum about cabbage, and even refused to eat Savoy cabbage.
  4. yankiwi

    yankiwi In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2010
    New Zealand West Coast
    We also grow beets but don't get around to harvesting or cooking them. I like growing them because they germinate so easily and look nice in the garden when other things get eaten alive by slugs or caterpillars.
    I'll try them with cauliflower leaves, good idea. Ours go into the compost bin but I'd rather give them to the girls. They won't eat cabbage or kale. They love worms and caterpillars but hate slugs. It sure is funny to think of what some chickens like and others don't. Two of ours love bananas, one won't touch them.
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    The best thing about Chard (besides its nutrition and awesome colors) is that it is a perennial. [​IMG]

    Well, out here at least, it is.

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