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Chicken Fodder

 
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Hello.

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


 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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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.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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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.
 
                      
Posts: 18
Location: TN
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Growing BSF will put a large dent in any grain you have to feed the chickens. Those are some nutritionally dense larvae. I have my culture in my living room awaiting their outdoor home this spring.
 
pollinator
Posts: 425
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comfrey and duckweed and amaranth
 
                      
Posts: 18
Location: TN
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I second the duckweed. Its a big part of my feeding plans for the ducks/chickens and other livestock.
 
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