I live on about 1/8 an acre suburban plot. I want to raise chickens but I don't really have the space to grow sunflowers seeds or grain to feed them. So I'm looking for shrubs that I can grow right near the chicken coop and just slash back for the chickens. In essence I want a fodder plant that the chicken will eat the leaves of. I understand that grain will be the major part of their diet though.
Gaia's garden recommends alot of leaf chicken fodder crops, but has anyone actually seen chickens eat the leaves of the following in quantity?
Elderberry Bushclover Hawthorn Siberian Pea Shrub (do the chickens eat the pods or is that a myth?) Sea Buckthorn Serviceberry Autumn Olive Barberry Boxthorn Currant Manzanita Privet Hackberry
I haven't, however I find that what an animal will eat has a lot to do with it's level of hunger and available food. That is to say without much feed they may become leaf eaters. As for mine, they like vegetables even with their grains, so you can grow those and toss in to them. Things like opened pumpkins, tomatoes, cucks, etc.
Limiting grains is important to get birds to really forage and try other foods.
you need mulberry trees and small perenneial herbs under the tree. the fruit and leaves are eatable to the chickens, if you put a small cage around the plants so the heart is protected, they can just eat what pokes through the wire holes perpetually.
also look into black soldier flies, this will reduce your feed bill, your kitchen waste(the stuff worms and compost piles dont like, meats, cooked foods, etc..) and increase production at the same time.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka