I’m back with more ideas on cutting your flock’s feed bill by using free feed sources. Last week I talked about veggies as free feed; check out Feeding Chickens for Free: Garden Produce here. This time we’re looking at weeds. Yes, really! Not only are many weeds highly nutritious and completely edible, but it’s an awesome motivation to start weeding that garden! There are literally dozens of weeds that you could be feeding your chickens and they will love you for it. Here are a few that I feed to my chickens on a regular basis and they grow just about everywhere.
Dandelion: Chickens enjoy all parts of the dandelion plant, from root to stem and on to the flower. They love it all. It’s easy to pick the Dandelion leaves, but the root is a bit tougher to harvest. You’ll have to pull a little dirt back and grab hold of the root itself to yank it all out. Dandelion loves to grow in the craziest places so take a look around, you probably have some growing somewhere!
Clover: This is another of my chickens favorite treats. I just yank a few handfuls out of the ground and toss them into the run and the chickens go nuts!
Bittercress: This one is a favorite from chickens and foraging humans alike! It has a mild radish like flavor and is very easy to pull. I get tons of it growing wild in the garden and all across my lawn.
Smartweed: This one is pretty easy to spot because of it’s pretty seed like flowers. I’ve always called it Lady’s thumb, but its actually called smartweed and the chickens go nuts for it. This is another one that is extremely easy to pull, it comes out by the handfuls with very little effort.
Two more favorites are: fat hen and chickweed: That should be easy to remember, right? If you’re lucky enough to have wild carrot or wild strawberry growing, they love that too. You can also grab a few handfuls of grass out of the bag next time you mow the lawn and throw that to the chickens. Of course if something is unfamiliar to you, take a minute to look it up before you toss it in the run. Just in case. Also, if anything has been sprayed with pesticides then it’s best to just skip it. Why take chances?
I have no better motivation for weeding the garden then those cute little fuzzy faces begging for treats. However, if you’re weeding to remove the weed from a garden, etc make sure you yank the whole root. If you’re weeding just to feed the chickens simply pull off the leaves and most grow back shortly for a new treat. That way you’ll have a never ending supply of free treats!
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