Letting chickens run free around the place is great, especially if you've rescued some commercially bred hens. It's a wonderful feeling as you watch them and a cockerel or two busy themselves around the backyard or garden. They can be very efficient at keeping a lawn down too.
However, you need to keep an eye on just what your flock might be tucking into and this is especially true when the summer really gets going because there are a few plants which can be deadly to chickens. But then the same can be said of the colder winter months when there's not so much around for chickens to eat. The winter months are when you need to feed a few treats to your birds as a way to supplement their daily diet and help to reduce any boredom that might set in.
With this said, just as with dogs and chocolate, there are certain foods which are taboo for chickens and this includes onions and anything citrus. There are some people who will not feed potato peelings to their chickens either whereas other people do. Chickens get a lot of the nutrients and goodness they need from the specially formulated chicken food that commercially produced but they do love a special treat every now and again.
Most people who own a few hens and a cockerel or two, like to give them any left overs from the kitchen and this is a great idea. You get rid of leftovers in the best way possible by recycling them to your poultry. However, you need to feed these “goodies” in moderation to your chickens, because just like with humans, too much of a good thing can prove bad for your birds! A few goodies offered on a daily basis will be much appreciated by your flock and you know they will always be your best friend when you scatter a few kitchen scraps around the yard for them – they'll be pecking at your heels!
Vegetables found in the average kitchen
Some people like to feed meat to their chickens too although there are those who think it makes birds more aggressive. With this said, lots of hens will steal a pussy cats food if they are given the chance and still remain quite placid – it's normally the cat that's gets a bit annoyed!
Unfortunately, there's a ton of toxic plants out there that are really bad for poultry to eat. But there are certain plants which you can have around a garden or back yard that are really safe for chickens to eat. The bad news is your hens will devour them in no time at all, if you let them.
Nasturtiums – this lovely plant not only looks lovely in a garden, but the flowers can be used in salads too. If your hens don't get to them fist that is!
Beet greens – chickens love these and it's a great way of using them up – however, only a few at a time should be given to your hens
Broccoli greens – chickens love the leaves and the tougher stems of broccoli – again these should be fed to the birds as a treat making sure they have plenty of access to grit
Clover – poultry love clover which can be found in some lawns – it's great for bees too!
Dandelions – poultry really do like dandelions and will really like it if you occasionally dig up a root for them to tuck into
Carrot tops – the tops of carrots will go down a treat during the winter months when the grass is thin on the ground
Fruits – this includes strawberries, blackberries and red/black currents which chickens really adore – but if you let your chickens have access to where you have planted your bushes or plants – beware they will eat the lot! It's better to just give a few berries to your hens as a treat and save a few for yourself!
Sunflowers – they look gorgeous in a garden and chickens adore the seeds and flower heads – the best part is you can store some away for those winter days and know the seeds are full of protein which is really good for your chickens when fed in small amounts!
All greens - this includes kale, cabbage and chard are packed with all the right vitamins and should be fed in small amounts to chickens.
Happy Friday everyone! As Winter and the holidays approach, the daysget busier and seem shorter. I thought that I would share some famous quotes about chickens. I hope these bring a smile to your day. If you have any other favorites to share, please feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!
Regard it just as desireable to build a chicken house as it is to build a cathedral.
_--_Frank Lloyd Wright
The difference between involvement and commitment is like an egg and ham breakfast: the chicken was involved, the pig was committed.
Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching for what it gets.
An overcrowed chicken farm produces fewer eggs.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Is this chicken what I have or fish? I know it's tuna but it says chicken of the sea.
A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.
The more excited a rooster gets, the higher his voice goes, he's got a little bit of a Barney Fife quality to him.
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
I'll change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!
_--_Dolly Parton's character in 9 to 5 movie
Ain't nobody here but us chickens.
_--_Song lyrics, Louis Jordan
Boys, I may not know much, but I know chicken poop from chicken salad.
_--_Lyndon B. Johnson
A chicken in every pot
_--_1928 Republican Party campaign slogan
Don't have a pot to put it in
--1928 Democratic Party response slogan