What to grow? Planning garden...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sahmhomesteader, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. sahmhomesteader

    sahmhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to grow as much feed for my chickens for next winter as I can. Ideas on what to grow for them? I am planning sunflowers, but not sure what else. This is my first year for a garden. Live in southwest Ohio. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Subscribed. Interested in this also
    Thanks for posting
    Ed
     
  3. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ummm....maybe some wheat or barley? Sunflowers are a good start.
     
  4. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Winter squash and pumpkins. Easy to grow, except they can take a lot of room and water. I let mine grow at the edge of the garden and then point the vines out the fence into the weed patch, which wouldn't be so easy if I lived in town. The chickens seem to ignore the plants ... at least mine do. And, the best part, the squash will last till around January or February if you keep them in a cool place, like maybe a basement or spare room that you don't keep the heater on in. (You know so that it's about 55-60F in there.)

    The chickens get fresh vegetables November - January; all you have to do is cut it in half or quarters. They eat the seeds, too. Sometimes I do bake the squash. Sometimes, I keep half in the fridge and take it out the following day. I don't feed them only squash that day. I would say that it might be at the most 1/10 of what they eat on any given day. I have no idea how much they could eat of squash a day and it still be good for them. I don't mind 10% one bit and my hens all seem just fine. Lots of vitamin A/beta carotene (whichever it is). Some say the pumpkin seeds help with intestinal worms, but I make no claims about that.

    I grew corn one year. Totally a waste of time because it took up so much land and water and gave me so little in return. However, I could have chopped the stalks ... ha ha ... if I had a corn stalk chopper, which I don't. I dried the corn and then shelled it. And the hoeing all summer was just silly, but I had a great tan by fall! [​IMG] Corn was way too much work.
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    X2 on winter squash and pumpkins. I have an area dedicated just for the chickens. You can throw some seeds in your compost pile and squash will take over. Corn is a huge waste of time (Can't beat 3 for $1 at the farmer's market). Summer squash is very prolific and chickens love them. Even the ones that look like watermelons and baseball bats are enjoyed. Watermelons, eat the flesh, feed them the rinds. Lettuce grows fast too. Don't waste your time with grains. Sunflowers are great treats but they will devour one head in a sitting so it's hard to raise enough to make a difference. I plant mine on the N side of the garden so they don't shade the other plants. You can also plant beans (or peas) with your sunflowers so the beans will climb up the stalk.

    Grow what you like first. Chances are your chickens will love whatever is over ripe, buggy, out of control... Turn your garden and let the chickens work it for a week or so to get as much larvae before you start planting. They are also good at working out the lumps when you spade the soil.
     
  6. mpguay

    mpguay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    black-eyed peas, mung beans and other drying beans. they grow like crazy, even if neglected. during winter you can sprout them in a few days inside. its a huge treat for chickens and packed with nutrients. and they are legumes, good for the garden.
     
  7. sahmhomesteader

    sahmhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow thank you all so much!! This is some great info! And I love the beans and sunflower trick!!
     
  8. tsiecz

    tsiecz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I grow my garden next to my run.After i till my garden, i let the chickens in to do more scratching and eating bugs and weed seeds. Any of my over ripe or blemished veg gets tossed in the run. I also have apple trees so any of the drops....into the run. In my run in the spring i also put the tiller through it to break up the hard pack layer. Chickens love it. Ill also take part of it and section it off and plant a pasture mix. Let it grow for a few weeks and let them at it. I plant summer squash and zucchini as there is always access. Cucumbers sometime get missed and get to large, the chickens love them.Plant what you like to eat and the chickens get the access..
     

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