I have several chickens in the backyard to be self-sufficient with eggs. If you have chickens, you will know that feed is not cheap at all, but fortunately, there are several plants you can grow to feed your chickens. In addition, these plants provide many nutrients for your chickens. In this article, you will learn what plants to grow for chickens.
My family has had chickens in the backyard for as long as I can remember. My grandfather taught me as a child all about chickens, and he was one of the ones who taught me what plants to grow to feed the chickens. Also, my grandpa was the one who taught me what plants are not good for chickens to eat. Continue reading to learn what plants to grow for chickens.
What Plants to Grow for Chickens
Normally a good chicken feed will provide the nutrients the chickens need to grow and develop properly. But supplementing chicken feed with plants that you can grow in your backyard will be good for your chickens and your wallet. Continue reading to learn about the best plants to grow for chickens.
Most humans like berries, and so do chickens. Berries are often expensive to buy and feed to chickens, but they are easy to grow. In the backyard of my house, we have a blackberry tree and my chickens feed on those blackberries every year. They will eat all the blackberries that fall on the ground, this way they will avoid the blackberries rotting on the ground.
Nasturtiums, besides repelling various garden pests, are also excellent food for chickens. According to a Rutgers University article, nasturtium flowers are high in vitamin C and iron, which is beneficial for chicken nutrition. This plant is very easy to grow from seed and develops quickly.
Pumpkin plants usually produce abundant yields that you can share with your chickens. Chickens will eat the pulp, seeds, and pumpkin chunks that you cut for them. As an extra benefit, pumpkin seeds are an excellent natural antiparasitic. Also, if you have pumpkin seeds you can make pumpkin sprouts to feed your chickens.
Parsley is another plant to grow for chickens. This plant contains a variety of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, making it a highly nutritious food source. I recommend you to read our article about how to harvest parsley without killing the plant to have parsley all year round to feed your chickens.
Fennel is a beneficial herb for chickens as it aids digestion, improves egg quality, and has antibacterial properties that promote overall health. The inclusion of dried fennel fronds in your chicken’s nesting box could potentially prevent the occurrence of parasites such as lice and mites. Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of fennel essential oils against lice.
Chicory is a beneficial plant to grow for chickens because it contains nutrients such as vitamin A and potassium. Also, chicory can help in the prevention of respiratory diseases and improve digestive health.
Sweet corn is a popular and nutritious feed for chickens, as it is rich in carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. In addition, corn is easy to digest and can improve egg yolk quality. Provide limited amounts of corn to your chickens because too much can harm their health. I recommend you read our article about how to grow corn to have a successful and abundant crop for your chickens.
White clover is high in protein and vitamins that will benefit the chickens, as well as withstand foot traffic. Also, white clover increases nitrogen in the soil which will benefit the rest of the plants near the clovers. Grow white clover for your chickens to enjoy this excellent plant.
I always grow sunflowers to feed my chickens. Sunflower seeds are very nutritious and healthy for both people and chickens. Also, sunflower plants are very beautiful and look good in any garden. Growing sunflowers for your chickens will save you a lot of money on feed. I recommend you read our article on how to plant sunflower seeds.
Other plants to grow for chickens are dandelions. Most people don’t want to have dandelions in their backyard, but these plants are excellent food for chickens. Dandelion is rich in vitamins A, C, and K. It is also an important source of calcium, potassium, and iron for your chickens. This nutritious herb can be easily found everywhere, fortunately, in my backyard it grows easily, and my chickens always enjoy dandelion.
Garlic is excellent for strengthening the immune system of chickens. It also has other health benefits for chickens such as repelling external and internal parasites. Garlic is normally planted in autumn and is an easy crop. You can easily get a lot of garlic from one clove of garlic. I recommend you read our article on how to grow garlic from a clove. I recommend giving chopped garlic to your chickens so that they can eat it more easily.
Cucumber seeds are natural antiparasitic like pumpkin seeds. Chickens love cucumbers and their high-water content will help keep them hydrated. You can give whole cucumbers to your chickens to peck at or cut them into pieces. I recommend reading our article on how to grow cucumbers easily. Consider that cucumber plants produce a lot of fruit, and you will be able to share cucumbers with your chickens.
Other plants that can be grown for chickens are beets. Chickens will eat the whole plant, you can use leafy greens and root crops. You can easily grow beets from seed, the beets will provide nutrients to your chickens.
Leafy Greens to Grow for Chickens
Leafy greens are an excellent choice for feeding chickens, as they are rich in essential nutrients and help keep chickens healthy. Some leafy greens that can be fed to chickens include spinach, chard, lettuce, watercress, and kale.
These vegetables contain important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which are essential for chicken growth and development. In addition, leafy greens are also rich in fiber, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system in poultry.
I always grow lettuce and chard to feed my chickens because they grow easily and do not require a lot of care. Plus, you can harvest constantly, and the plants will continue to produce for a long time. I recommend you read our article on how to harvest lettuce without killing the plant.
It is also advisable to chop them into small pieces to make them easier for the birds to digest. In general, leafy greens are a healthy and nutritious option to add to the diet of chickens.
Herbs to Grow for Chickens
Herbs are a healthy and nutritious option for feeding chickens. One advantage is that herbs grow easily and quickly, and you can also consume tasty herbs or include them when preparing your gourmet dishes. Some of the herbs you can grow for chickens are:
The vast majority of herbs grow easily and quickly. I recommend you to read our article on how to grow herbs. I am sure your chickens will enjoy the herbs as much as my chickens enjoy them.
Chickens love peas, because peas ripen in early spring this could be one of the first fresh foods in your garden. Peas provide several nutrients and vitamins, one of which is niacin, which chickens need to develop strong bones. Peas grow easily in trellis which allows you to save space in your garden.
NOTE: It’s possible to include beans in the diet of your chickens, but it’s essential to be cautious and avoid giving them uncooked dry beans. These can be harmful since they contain hemagglutinin and may be toxic.
Melons and Watermelon
Melons and watermelons are one of my chickens’ favorite summer foods. These fruits provide them with a lot of hydration during the hottest months of the year. In addition, the melon and watermelon plants are very productive, assuring fruit for me and my chickens. You can plant cantaloupe seeds and feed your chickens with this exquisite variety. I recommend chopping the melon, so your chickens can eat it more easily.
What Plants Not to Grow for Chickens
What Plants Should I Avoid Growing Near Chicken? Few plants can harm chickens, but these plants should be avoided near the chicken coop. Chickens are smart and can usually identify which plant to eat, but it is best to avoid growing these plants near the chickens.
- Bracken ferns
Growing plants to feed your chickens will bring several benefits such as improving the nutrition of your chickens and also saving on feed. In addition, your chickens will like to vary their diet. I hope this article on what plants to grow for chickens will be useful. If you want to know more about chickens, I recommend the following articles: