What do you do when greens are gone


In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 6, 2012
I have a HUGE yard for my girls, but over the last two years they have picked clean the ground and its only twigs and sand now. Once a week I let then free range on our acre (thats the only time I can do because of my work and home schedule...) Are they ok living like this, or should they have access to more greens? Every spring and summer they get all the grass and tree trimmings, but I worry about them missing those nutrients in fall and winter... Ideas


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
I’m not sure how you are feeding them, but chicken feed contains all they absolutely need. They will do fine on just chicken feed. They will be healthy and the eggs will be fine.

I’m one that prefers them to eat more than just chicken feed. Like you, mine get to forage on greens a lot in season. Mine get a lot of excess or waste from the garden when it’s available. Mine get kitchen wastes year around. I like the extra vitamins and other nutrients they get from that, but your chickens are not going to get sick or die if all they get is chicken feed.


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
I use Alfalfa pellets / cubes , soaked in hot water, in the winter for everybody and year round for chicks that are penned. Other people sprout grains etc, fodder, there are quite a few threads on BYC about fodder and sprouting grains/seeds.

Percheron chick

8 Years
Apr 12, 2013
Hudson, Colorado
Buy them a bale of alfalfa. You can just put the whole bale in the run (do not cut the strings). They will climb on it and scratch at it. It will provides weeks of entertainment. You can also toss out a flake (section of hay as it comes off the bale) every few days as they clean it up. Buy the highest quality hay you can find. It will have finer stems and more leaves. The leaves are what they want. Alfalfa is a good Ca source and it will keep your egg yolks orange. They'll also get lucky and find a few grasshoppers.


Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
I don't know where you are, but I'm able to grow things like Swiss chard year round. I pick several leaves and feed them to the flock (almost) daily.

I tried alfalfa pellets, they would eat them eventually but didn't really care for them. Soaking is too time and labor intensive for me, but hay would probably be a good way to go.


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jun 21, 2013
I have bare spots in my yard from the bad yard company that was hired to take care of my yard, I now have a new company, but I am trying something new this fall and in the coming spring. I found a product used for wild deer or wild turkeys to attract them. So I figure it would work for chickens. It seems to work and at least it will hold the top soil down with the winter weather. Biologic is the company and has many products, they are not cheap by my pocketbook but as the perennial mix I got has bee friendly clover both red and white I will happily get it to help both my chickens and the bees.


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