What Seed for hens to pasture on???

BK79

In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 10, 2013
64
2
41
I want to lay some seed down in my yard. I don't have much lawn area for birds to graze. What seed should I put down for them to feed on?
alfalfa, barley, hairy vetch???
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
316
288
Grifton NC
It really doesn't make a lot of difference.
They aren't grazers, and will eat a little of most anything that's there
Clover would be good in a yard, but it's not cheap, and none of the grains are good lawn grasses, so they won't grow all that well in a yard
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
706
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
I just buy the regular grass seed. Just be aware that they will eat the seed, and some seeds are treated (poisonous) so keep them off it until it is coming up if it is treated seed. I have bought both treated and untreated grass seeds.

They love clover and alfalfa but it is spendy as Bear Foot Farm said.

They will truly demolish a small area. You might give them the clippings from the lawnmower (keep them short to prevent impacted crop) and keep them off it, if they tear it up too much for your liking. It is almost a necessity to rotate pastures if you wish to keep any grass after awhile. You might divide it with fencing, or simply cover some of the ground with a grazing frame to keep them from eating it down to the roots.
 

BK79

In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 10, 2013
64
2
41
I hope they don't get impacted crop from alfalfa ?? maybe the long grass would get lodged in their crop
 

WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
83
283
Wisconsin
I've never had a case of impacted crop in my flocks. I think long, coarse, dry hay is more of a concern. Fresh, tender greens have never been a problem, here. They usually just pluck the tender leaves from alfalfa.

We have clover planted, also. I also plant extra greens for them. The chard handles warm weather, as well as cold. It handles our short springs here and I always plant a lot for us. The mixed colored type is pretty, too. They also have a selection of things like kale, leaf lettuce and other dark leafy greens. They like chick weed and various things that grow in the wild areas of the property. Lawn grasses or grasses from cereal grains are eaten, like wheat, oats or barley. They like all kinds of berries, tomatoes, as well as other fruits and vegetables. I usually grow some cherry tomatoes for them.

You can also plant things that will go to seed, like sunflowers, amaranth, etc.

In the warmer months, they pretty much just forage on their own. I plant things for them that they can forage on and also have other things that are in our garden, that they don't have access to, for obvious reasons. In the winter, I offer sprouts and wheat or other grass that I've grown.

In a small yard or for confined chickens, you can plant pots or garden flats of things to give to them. You can also fence off a little area and only give them access when the plants are large enough.

GrowOrganic.com has a lot of pasture mixes. They have one for chickens, that you can buy by the pound. You could look at that. For people with only a few chickens, you can even just use sprouting seeds for some things. It's expensive for a pasture, but not for just a pot or only a few alfalfa plants. Plus, it lets you try it out, as an idea.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
706
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
I hope they don't get impacted crop from alfalfa ?? maybe the long grass would get lodged in their crop

You don't have to worry about long grass unless you cut it for them and it is very long. If they are grazing they only snip off what they can handle with their beaks from my experience.

Just my opinion!

Alfalfa is very good for them.
 
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