Chickens are an integral part of today’s homesteads and family businesses. It is no surprise that more and more attention is paid to the fact that they are not only healthy but also happy.
One way to show your feathered friends that you care is to make sure they eat well.
At least my herd definitely behaves better if it is well fed. I have heard other chicken farmers say that feeding their bird greens leads to fewer diseases, probably due to the nutritional content of this type of food.
The grains you give them are important, but the greens and scratch materials they consume are just as critical.
In fact, many home gardeners have taken on the task of growing their own specialized vegetation to feed their herds.
Why scratch chickens
Regardless of whether you keep your animals free-range or not, it is a great advantage if you allow them to go out and look for food. The nutrients they get from tillage are varied and essential.
But even if they can’t Go really wild in your garden or yardGiving them time on a plot of living plant material has its advantages.
When chickens eat from the ground, they often “scratch” the ground and move the ground and vegetation to uncover new, hidden goodies. Even if you feed them in a fairly sterile environment (e.g. with scratched grains on the sidewalk), their instincts prevail.
They scratch and scratch – uncover more soil and eventually kill the root systems of the plants.
Which plants make good greens?
Many people refer to the greens grown specifically for chickens as “feed” and you will hear that this term is used widely by farmers.
Chickens have their taste preferences. Some of them are very personal – for example, I’m told that chickens love banana peels, but mine were never fans.
There are also some universal favorites that make excellent notepads for your birds.
Each of the following plants is a good candidate for planting in your garden, chicken coop, or small apartment (which we’ll discuss later):
Since the chickens eat most of these plants before they can fully ripen, it is important that you plant them tightly and provide the seeds with a good basis for germination and growth.
Chicken runs and garden lots
Here is a simple primer for planting directly into the soil:
If you plant in a chicken run, you will probably sow the entire area at once.
If you have access to a pasture or garden, measure about one square foot of space per chicken. You can enclose any property with chicken wire or other cheap fence material.
Order or remove all weeds and surface vegetation to prepare the dirt with a hoe. You can then cover the prepared area with a flat one Layer of fresh compost.
Work the mulch into the soil, add some extra moisture and then add the seeds. You can then return with a layer of topsoil over the entire area.
Since the seeds are scattered thicker than when planting Your own vegetable gardenYou don’t have to worry about sowing carefully spaced rows.
You can even use a coffee can with holes in the lid to shake seeds onto your plots.
Water the area daily until the seeds germinate, usually between three and four days for the earliest varieties of the mix.
You want the vegetation to reach a height of about 5 inches before you let go of the chickens to enjoy them.
Depending on how many chickens you have and how aggressive they are when scratching, your act should take a week or more.
Grow in trays
While runs and plots are practical from spring to autumn, your birds also benefit from eating greens in the cold months.
For this reason, many chicken lovers repeat the process described above, but put the entire soil and seeds in clean plastic trays. Just make sure your trays have drainage holes.
Starting bowls with seeds needs space in a warm part of your home, near sunshine. You can put your thoroughly disinfected trays on a greenhouse shelving system or in an actual greenhouse – if you want Lucky to have one.
Depending on how large your flock is and how much your birds enjoy their green treats, you may want to start a new tray every other day or even every day so you always have a tray ready to feed the birds while others Trays will develop for the coming days. This way, your beautiful birds will never spend a day without their reward.
Another way to provide your herd with fresh feed is to germinate.
Germination refers to growing crops for a shorter period of time, and gardeners often use seeds other than forage.
For example, you can try one of the types listed below, or a combination of these types:
- Alfalfa clover
- Mung beans
Place the soaked grains and beans in a flat, rectangular plastic container with holes in the bottom so that water can flow through them without losing the soaked beans or grains.
Place this container in another watertight container that is slightly raised so that water can drain out of the first container while remaining in the second container. Empty plastic pill bottles are good “stilts”.
Rinse and stir the beans and grains thoroughly twice a day so that the water can drip completely into the surrounding container. The rinse step is important to prevent mold from entering your sprouts.
Sprouts should appear within a few days, and most experts say that if they grow four to six days, the sprouts offer great nutritional value. If it is the size you want, take out all the germinated mass so your birds can enjoy it!
For more information on germination for humans, see the article on our sister site Foodal.
Better greens for birds
The higher the quality of the greens you give your herd, the better your eggs will be. In terms of taste, fresh farm eggs are already superior to the competition.
Giving your birds an extra boost of nutrients will also result in healthier eggs. according to a study by S. Mattoli et al. al., published in the “Journal of Functional Foods”, which found that chickens fed alfalfa or sprouts produce eggs with an increased content of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin A and other healthy substances.
Greens are also a great way to keep chickens happy. Satisfied birds behave better, suffer from fewer illnesses, and most likely live in harmony without pecking or arguing.
Do you have a leafy green that you think your feathered friends will love? Try one or more of our methods and let us know in the comments section if your levels like their new goodies.