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What do you grow for your flock?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by schmije, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. schmije

    schmije Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    Our flock expanded this year, and I'm looking for ideas of extra things to feed them that are cheap/free for me. Most of them free range, and I give them tons of tomatoes, cukes, lettuce, sunflowers, etc from my garden. I'm willing to grow things just for the chickens as long as it's something low maintenance. What do you grow that your chickens love?

  2. Baymule

    Baymule Songster

    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    I'm interested in this too. I give mine veggies from the garden, but have not planted anything specifically for the chickens.
  3. greenSearcher

    greenSearcher Songster

    Aug 22, 2010
    If I wasn't in the midst of a grasshopper plague, I would have winter squashes for my girls. Squash is usually the only thing that thrives in the July and Aug heat and I had plans to plant it willy-nilly and harvest it in the fall for us, for the seeds and mostly for feeding the girls. Instead, I have sweet potatoes. (10 slips that cover over 200 sq ft.) That's it, I was disappointed in the one melon that survived. I have lost 90% of all plantings, including bushes (trees died last year) only the Calla Lilly and Licorice plants are untouched - yes they are poisonous. Even the mesquite trees are at least 50% defoliated. I think some of the perennials will come back next spring, we will see.

    I have thought about planting Goumi bushes, fruit has a cherry apple taste, heard it is good, and the bushes are not invasive like autumn olive but grow quickly and thrive in out climate. Would give the girls shade and fruit in season. Same for Mulberry trees, first effort failed. I have a hard time because of the heavy clay soil.

    I you garden, or even if you don't have a compost pile for your girls. I had a small pile of grasses by my compost bins, and after a few weeks, the girls found it and it provided hours of scratching for bugs, as did the left overs from the hail bail. They aren't interested in eating the hay.

    Since I have no garden, I check with my grocery store when I am shopping and take home produce not suitable for sale. The girls like stone fruits, grapes and squash. Usually I can take a small box home free.

    OH! I just remembered, Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply has a cover crop for Chickens. If you move your girls housing like I do, it sounds great for replanting the yard. I house my girls basically in tractors that are left open inside a yard, 800sq ft which I generally leave open so they can forage on the 2 acres we cleared around the house. Chicken Forage Blend "New Improved Omega 3 Chicken Forage Blend"

    "Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of a healthy diet. One way to get this substance in our food is to eat eggs from chickens raised on a diet that promotes the formation of Omega-3's right in the egg. This blend is planted for chicken forage to achieve this high Omega-3 result. Plant annually after danger of frost has passed. Caution: Flax can form prussic acid when exposed to frost so do not graze horses on this mix.

    The planting rate is now 25-30 lbs per acre, as opposed to the old rate of 50 lbs per acre

    20% Bison Intermediate Ryegrass, 15% Tetraploid Perennial Rye, 10% Tetraploid Annual Rye, 10% Japanese Millet, 10% Buckwheat, 10% Flax, 10% Red Clover, 5% Strawberry Clover, 5% Alfalfa, 3% Ladino Clover, 2% Birdsfoot Trefoil."
  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Quinoa, Amaranth, Flax, Oats, Corn (heirloom) various Squash, Cabbage, and whatever falls off the fruit trees. We also give them Kefir (it is sort of like yogurt)

    Next year I still plan to do all that, with the addition of Beets, my own homegrown Wheat, and Barley.

    Plus they get whatever they decide to eat that grows in our pastures. [​IMG]
  5. I fed the chicks beet greens this Spring so will be planting a Fall crop of beets and will add carrots. Looking at rye and wheat and maybe oats...I'm a BackYard farmer so not much room! [​IMG]
  6. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Boo-Boo's Mama :

    I fed the chicks beet greens this Spring so will be planting a Fall crop of beets and will add carrots. Looking at rye and wheat and maybe oats...I'm a BackYard farmer so not much room! [​IMG]

    We only have 5 acres here. I just use space as well as I can, and have very small crops. [​IMG]
  7. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Songster

    May 24, 2008
    Mine love tomatoes, pumpkins and squash, also apricots when it is in season.
    All year round I have some breeding pens of meal worms on my patio, so I just toss a handful in the chicken run of those every other day......and they LOVE IT!

  8. schmije

    schmije Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    These are good suggestions. As for things like rye, wheat and oats.... does it take a large area to grow a decent amount? How do you harvest them? I've never grown grains before.
  9. GardenWeasel

    GardenWeasel Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Henry, TN
    Hey Bunker Hill. I have grown oats on as small as a 10 x10 plot right from the feed store, I cut and feed whole plants starting as soon as the grains form, green and all the way to dry. Also have grown buckwheat and millet, both pretty low maintenance. Buckwheat is a great weed control and bees love it so I get great pollination for other crops. Grew my own dent corn this year and some Mississippi hull peas. Need to plant a lot more if I plan for it to be a substantial part of their diet. I am new to TN and still experimenting with what grows well and can survive pests without chemical intervention. Hope this was helpful. Mine also harvested all my collard plants for me last year. Need fences if I want any.
  10. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I grow, beans, peas, tomatoes, squash, lettuce, sunflowers, peppers, and have a plum tree and a cherry tree. I am on an acre so I can't grow pumpkins altho they love the innards after I have carved them and harvested the seeds for roasting. I would love to try watermelon seeing as that is their ultimate favorite but thats like growing pumpkins, I need a bigger lot lol

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