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Feeding Chickens


 
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SecretGarden
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 09 Jul 2009
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Location: Ireland (South-East)

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:21 pm    Post subject: Feeding Chickens Reply with quote

Can anyone tell me what kind of plants I might grow in and around our chicken pens apart from good old grass? We'd like to provide a crop / crops they could forage through which provide a more natural diet as well as cut down on feed costs.

As chickens diet consists of insects as well as greens, it would be great if some of these plants attracted insects as well.

Ideally it would be something that would not need to be replanted each year, either self-seeding, biannual or perennial.

The hens will of course be moved to our garden for a spell during the winter to clean that up before next springs planting.

We are just beginning to keep bees as well so if the plants could be dual purpose and provide nectar it would be terrific.

I've also been looking for comfrey seeds, if anyone knows of a source please let me know.

Thanks in advance for any info
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dinahdabble
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Joined: 24 Mar 2009
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Location: Torr

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ours eat chickweed. Also, any soft, annual weed that isn't poisonous. Scatter pleanty of wheat seeds arround, and rub them into the soil. They will scratch them out as they sprout. You can also give them boiled up vegitable peelings, and we let them scrat arround in the compost heap.
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Guelder
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Feeding Chickens Reply with quote

SecretGarden wrote:
Can anyone tell me what kind of plants I might grow in and around our chicken pens apart from good old grass? We'd like to provide a crop / crops they could forage through which provide a more natural diet as well as cut down on feed costs.

As chickens diet consists of insects as well as greens, it would be great if some of these plants attracted insects as well.

Ideally it would be something that would not need to be replanted each year, either self-seeding, biannual or perennial.

The hens will of course be moved to our garden for a spell during the winter to clean that up before next springs planting.

We are just beginning to keep bees as well so if the plants could be dual purpose and provide nectar it would be terrific.

I've also been looking for comfrey seeds, if anyone knows of a source please let me know.

Thanks in advance for any info


I know the organic centre sell comfrey roots (much like rhubarb). Once you get a few of the established they'll self seed like crazy. And the bees love the comfrey (well at least some species).

If you can take a look along the side of the road out the country for comfrey growing you might be able to dig out a few roots yourself. In a few weeks the leaves will have died back and you won't be able to find it though. They are so resilient there is no worries about whether it will take when replanted of you just dug a few chunks of it up.

As for the chickens - I would have thought that perennials (aside from grasses) wouldn't really survive with all the rooting and clearing they do. We give them the greens from brassicas and also chard. They go mad for that.

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sal
Rank attained: Sessile Oak Tree
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Joined: 15 Sep 2008
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Location: kerry

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

apart from chicken pellets that they get in the morning ,i cook cheap spagetti,add nettles,corn maize,rye flakes,oats,chopped bannana skins,anything thats getting near out of date from my cerials,and boil up and they get half of that around lunchtime,i also give them the contents of my kids left over packed lunches,and i go to t*sc* and get cheap bread fron time to time,at present i picked up 2 loaves for 12 cents each,they also get any peelings and waste veg leftover from dinner,sometimes i freeze it in bags as there can be too much,and when cooking beans i add the water from that to the spagetti too,my chicks arn`t dead yet anyway! Laughing
and i throw into their pen dock leaves and plantain leaves which they love.
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