What do I plant to feed my chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mason123h, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. mason123h

    mason123h In the Brooder

    Dec 27, 2010
    I have nine chickens with a coop and a considerable amount of fenced in area for them to roam. It didn't take long for them to eat every green thing in sight. In the spring I am planning to fence off a corner of their pen and plant vegetables and greens for me and the chickens. I will let the chickens in occasionally to eat some of the plants.

    Any ideas what kind of things to plant for them? I was thinking I would do mostly soybeans.
  2. HeritageHens

    HeritageHens Chirping

    Aug 9, 2010
    I'm glad you started this thread. I was thinking about the same thing!

    Take a look at this post (#29) before you consider soybeans:

    From: wombat

    Soybeans aren't "toxic", but there are anti-trypsins in them that are harmful to the digestive process and can leach other minerals from the body. Cooking/roasting does not completely neutralize these, just "mostly" does. Fermentation methods completely neutralize.

    Zinc, calcium, and magnesium deficiencies can result from diets with excessive anti-trypsins. OTOH, soy is rich in calcium, so there's a net gain there if it's properly processed.

    Soy is popular because it is cheap, and genetically modified soy plants happily coexist with copious amounts of Roundup. Yuk.

    Also ... different animals process feed differently. Cows are fine on unprocessed soy, single-stomached critters such as swine or poultry aren't. I don't know how deer handle it.

    We single-stomached critters can cause our pancreas to work overtime with too much soy, too!

    My girls LOVE collard greens and pea plants. I'll bet alfalfa would be a big hit too. They also eat the kale, swiss chard, and spinach.​
  3. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    Plant them a couple of rows of Swiss Chard and they'll be your best buddies for life-plus, ours kept getting leaves on it all summer(well, it TRIED to keep getting leaves-the birds sorta kept them stripped bare). [​IMG]
  4. mason123h

    mason123h In the Brooder

    Dec 27, 2010
    Which do you think would be better, alfalfa, rye (or other grains), clover, or grass?
  5. Uncle_Bubba

    Uncle_Bubba In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2010
    Conway township Mi

    I am courious what to grow that the chickens like. I am thinking for the garden this year carrots, bell peppers, potatoes( no skins for chickens I know), onions, broccoli, and who knows what else. this will be a "shared" garden for us and the chickens. Kind of an experiment to see what we can grow. I figure worse case, the chickens get some greens other than grass.
  6. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    I would never plant or grow soybeans for my chickens. . . It is bad enough that I feed it to them through the layer feed they get (which I hopefully will stop giving come this spring) But I'm really not up for GMO food.

    I always like planting/growing the following for them:

    Winter Squashes
    Pumpkins (the seeds are a natural dewormer, too)
    Beets (some people prefer mangal beets)
    Heirloom corn (non-GMO; the original colored corn from mexico is very pretty and good for flour, too)
    Quinoa (very pretty, nutritious, and originally harvested in South America before we even found it)
  7. Desert Peep

    Desert Peep In the Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Tucson, AZ
    Be careful about letting your chickens into your garden; their poop shouldn't be near any plants that you plan on eating within about 6 months, because it may carry harmful organisms and disease. Also chicken poop needs to be composted for several months or it will burn vegetation (too much nitrogen). It's been my experience that chickens will completely destroy a garden with all their scratching and eating. They won't just eat some of the plants. They will eat some of ALL the plants; taking bits and pieces off of EACH plant:) And they are fast eaters. Mine can completely devour all the leaves on a broccoli plant in about a minute. Have fun!!
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  8. grendel

    grendel Songster

    Mar 12, 2010
    Walbridge ohio
    Plant a tomato variety called"Currant"it produces thumbnail size fruit that is so abundant that you will not want to waste the time to pick it.And those orange daylilies that grow in ditches are high in vitamins and can handle constant chicken scratching.
  9. western edge

    western edge Songster

    Apr 5, 2010
    Edge of the Bakken
    squash and pumpkin are good. I am still feeding excess of both that i have stored from my garden last fall. Prolific producers and keep well.
  10. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Songster

    Squash, summer & winter types
    Swiss Chard
    Tomatoes, I grow Yellow Pear Tomatoes (don't let the chickens eat any of the green parts of the plant, it can be toxic)
    Amaranth, for seed & greens

    and then there are the trees..............too many of those to list

    ETA: tomato plant warning
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: