Winter flowers for chickens . . .

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cmarlowdrive, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. cmarlowdrive

    cmarlowdrive Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone know winter flowering plants are ok for chickens to eat, i.e. petunias, pansies, violets, hellebore, mums, jasmine, calendula, sweet alyssum. . . ???

    Any thoughts
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Where do you live where you have winter flowers? Outdoors? All I have is snow. If you have bare ground in the winter, simply let your birds free range for a bit every day.
     
  3. cmarlowdrive

    cmarlowdrive Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WE are in the south, Birmingham, Alabama. No snow here, but, the hardware stores are selling beautiful blooming flowers that bloom in winter. I know what to buy them in the summer, just not sure about winter.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    On that list, I'd go with pansies, violets and calendula. All should be edible. However, plant nurseries often treat their plants with systemic insecticides. Personally, If i were buying something for my chickens, i'd plant my own seed. Buy the flowers for yourself to enjoy, and leave it at that. if the chickens do sample them, I'm guessing/hoping they won't eat enough to be a problem, especially if you have stuff growing in your yard now.
     
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi,
    You are wanting to feed your birds fresh greens in the winter? If so, the best idea is to feed them "Green Feed" greens as opposed to "grain feed" greens. Huh? Here's how it goes. One of the best things you can feed your birds is sprouted grains. This supplement is full of all kinds of nutrients they need. Sprouted grains come in 2 forms. Green feed and grain feed. What is the difference? Grain feed is a younger sprout. In the case of srpouted oat seeds ,under 4 days old. It is fed as part of the daily ration instead of part of the grain they would usually eat. ( Historically, poultrymen have found sprouted oats to be the best sprouted grain supplement.)
    Green feed is an older sprout. In the case of sprouted oats, four days or older. On the 4th day, a nutritional change takes place in the oat sprout and it becomes green feed. It is fed as a supplement in addition to the regular daily ration. For large fowl, one cubic inch per bird per day. Green feed is used to bring hens into lay and help roosters develop more vigorous sperm, which hopefully results in more robust chicks. Green feed is best fed from 4 thru 7 days old. There is no added plus to feeding sprouts over 7 days old and one runs the risk of older sprouts spoiling. Sprouts should always feel "crisp" and smell fresh. If they feel slimy and/or smell foul, they have gone bad and should be thrown out. Read pages 24 thru 29 of this BYC thread ( see top of this post) to get a good history on sprouted seeds and "How-To methods. I used the mason jar method with great success!
    One should use forage oats instead of feed oats. Forage oats are the kind which the farmer plants in his pasture for the livestock to eat out there...or the hunter plants to attract deer during hunting season. I use Plotspike Forage Oats. Developed by specialized linebreeding ( not GMO) at Louisiana State University circa 2002. It get great results and the 25 pound bag makes loads of oats. http://www.plotspike.com ( and see URL at top of this post) I get mine at Tractor Supply.

    Feed oats are the kind of oats the farmer or livestock owner feeds the animals in the barn. As I understand it few feed oats are coated with an anti-mold chemical any more. That chemical would keep them from sprouting. But forage oats don't have that problem and they are designed to sprout so I use them instead.
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  6. cmarlowdrive

    cmarlowdrive Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your help. I happen to be sprouting some barley, red wheat and Kamut seeds in the kitchen now. Some have slower sprouts than others. I will check into feeder oats. My girls get fresh magnolias and coneflowers in the summer. Thought I would try some of the beautiful winter flowers blooming now. They are abundant in the local hardware stores.
     
  7. cmarlowdrive

    cmarlowdrive Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the forage oats now. .Are you suggesting keeping these oats in a jar of water for 4 days or rinse everyday, drain and feed after 4 days? Can you share what you do with your oats?
    I have been making fodder in jar with White Wheat and Lentils by soaking for 2 days and keeping moist until sprouting happens. This is usually a 2-3 week process. Would these Oats sprout better in a flat?
     

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