Two super-foods that love the heat!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by g-momto11, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. g-momto11

    g-momto11 In the Brooder

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    Has anyone tried Malabar spinach? Down SE Louisiana we have a hard time getting any greens to grow in this heat. I've never grown it before but, the garden folks over at GardenWeb say it will thrive in the HOTTEST climate. It is very nutritious. I already bought my seed for the Malabar Spinach and also, seeds for Amaranth.

    http://www.evergreenseeds.com/malspingreen.html

    http://www.evergreenseeds.com/edamyintsach.html

    I can't imagine more prolific plants that just happen to be super-nutritious. The Amaranth will reseed to the point of being a nuisance to some folks. I needed some greens that could withstand our horribly hot summers and, both will provide us with delicious greens all summer. The Malabar can be a little slimy but, I know the chickens will absolutely devour it! I have some friends in the country who eat lots of both of these greens.

    The Amaranth will provide me with a very fast-growing grain/green that will re-sprout quickly,allowing me to return the tractor to that spot, much sooner. The Malabar grows as a vine. I was hoping that as it grows over a short fence the chickens would eat the new growth, allowing the original plant to grow more new shoots. If they attack it to the point of killing it, I will have to fence it in and harvest just enough to not completely defoliate the entire plants.

    I believe I can grow enough of these two heat lovers to keep my chickens fat-n-sassy all summer long with very little purchased food. I will have other veggies to share with the chickens like squashes and tomatoes .......

    Is it possible to over-do-it with greens?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  2. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

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    [​IMG]
    sounds great.. Amaranth is a super grain with great amino acid profile... also how could you go wrong with spinach!

    Double check to see if amaranth needs to be washed before feeding, I am not sure if it has saponins like Quinoa that need to be washed off.

    Me, I would still allow the birds to free range for bugs and other greens, AND offer their regular feed free choice.

    ON
     
  3. GarlicEater

    GarlicEater Songster

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    We've got a wild viney sort of thing that grows, and is supposed to taste like spinach, sure enough I tried some and it tastes like spinach. I wonder if that's it.

    It grows in the summer and we have HOT summers.
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Crowing

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    There does seem to be an toxicity issue with respect to the seeds, and feeding amaranth raw as a grain to poultry:

    http://www.theeasygarden.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=215638

    From one person's experience as described in the link, there may also be an issue of chickens not really liking the leaves of the plant, too.
     
  5. BitsyB

    BitsyB Chirping

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    I have heard that New Zealand Spinach (not a true spinach) grows like crazy in the heat, and some say it tastes even better than real spinach.

    Chickens are omnivores, so they need access to different types of food, especially bugs and worms and such for protein. If you let them forage for themselves as well as have a good quality fed available, you can't go wrong. It seems they know what they need to eat and what not to eat.

    I remember learning about an experiment where they allowed young children to eat whatever foods they wanted- all of the foods were nutritious, no candy or anything, and there was a wide variety of foods. Even though sometimes their diets appeared unbalanced for a day or two, overall they ate very well and all the children thrived. So that is how I approach feeding my chickens!

    And thanks g-momto 11 - you reminded me I need to order seeds for this year's garden...

    A question for Organics North- what are saponins, and why do they need to be washed off? [​IMG]
    Thanks!
     
  6. g-momto11

    g-momto11 In the Brooder

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    New Zealand Spinach is a fabulous plant. I don't know if it will thrive during the very hottest months here. But, I will plant some along with the Amaranth and Malabar. The nutrient numbers are impressive on the New Zealand spinach.

    I was planning on the chickens feeding on the amaranth mostly as greens. I figured the chickens would eat it "down" before it ever got to produce seed. However, I did not know about the potential toxic effects of eating the seed.

    I always run across comments about "scratch" not being a good every-day diet for chickens. Most posters usually recommend that a high-quality feed be used. Y'all can obviously tell that I am planning on supplementing with some fresh grown veggies but, what commercial feed can I purchase and, what can I mix myself, that is considered a well-balanced, high quality feed?
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Crowing

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    I use Countryside Naturals:

    http://www.countrysidenatural.com/home.php

    There's no retail source for it where we live, so I have to get it shipped (ouch!). But I love the stuff and don't want to switch to a soy based feed.
     
  8. BitsyB

    BitsyB Chirping

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    I recently ordered the feed from Countryside Naturals, too. So far I am very pleased with it, and the chickens seem to be too!

    I thought about making my own, and several BYCers have recipies for their homemade feed. If you have the time and enjoy doing things like that it seems like a good way to go. Someday(?!) when I have more time...
     
  9. GarlicEater

    GarlicEater Songster

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    Have you tried Collard Greens? They are delicious and my chickens love them. Some for them and some for me .....

    Comfrey is another good warm weather green.
     
  10. BitsyB

    BitsyB Chirping

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    Quote:Greens are one of the most nutritious foods we can eat, we would all do well eating some every day right along with our chickens! (well maybe not literally right next to them; they don't share very well, the little greedy things [​IMG] ) And most greens are pretty easy to grow if you give them the conditions they like. I planted 1 little six-pack of Swiss Chard last spring (this year I'm growing my own from seed and going to plant more). They grew so big, they were delicious. Then somehow the chickens got into the garden, and that was that for the Chard. [​IMG] I don't know if it comes back or not.

    The woman who I buy my local foods from is originally from the South, and she talks about her Granny cooking up a "mess o greens". Sounds like a frugal way to eat well.
     

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