Why do my chickens dine on dandelions?

jmblowen

In the Brooder
Jun 23, 2018
7
7
19
My NH Reds go nuts for kale !
Only 3 of the 8 will come out of the coop though....3 months old...should I stop providing water inside the coop ?
 

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ADKcluckers

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
18
38
36
Southern Adirondacks NY
I made the mistake of waging war on the profusion of dandelions in my yard when we first moved in and I started transforming a sandy wasteland to a growing landscape, you could see me out there on any given day digging and pulling those long taproots out by the handful. To reward me for my efforts and all that soil disruption Mother Nature gifted me an even bigger profusion of sheep's sorrel which is ten times harder to control!

The chickens still get some pulled "weeds" they love to eat, in smaller amounts because I'm nervous about the oxalic acid in the sorrel, and apparently just like the dandelions you can munch it or add it to you wild tea mix. And now we have a resident population of Small Copper butterflies since we grow their host plant so well.
 

Kitknits

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2020
8
14
11
We only have the false dandelion here, but my chicks are NUTS about sourgrass (aka wood sorrel). To the point that I've had to tell my 14yo to stop pulling it all up to give to them and let some go to seed for next year. :)
Mine too. I had huge sourgrass problem and now my problem is I don't have enough to keep my chickens happy!
 

Kitknits

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2020
8
14
11
In addition to their normal bug-hunting, I noticed that my chickens specifically eat dandelion leaves (not the flowers) pretty often.

Besides attempting to remind me to eat more salad, does anyone know why they like dandelion leaves so much?

They actually have me wondering of there is something healthy or beneficial to eating dandelions.
You can try offering your chickens other greens as well-- they need them in their diet to be truly healthy. My girls absolutely love chard and sourgrass as well. They are a bit more take-it-or-leave it with spinach, but I admit they mostly get wilty spinach i'm not using for myself. At the end of radish season, I let them have at the radishes that bolted, and they stripped the greens on those very quickly.
 

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