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January 28, 2014

POULTRY HEALTH: WINTER WONDER GRASS

Posted by Anais Dervaes

Wheatgrass is not just for people; it's enjoyed by chickens and ducks on our homestead, especially in winter when our garden greens are in short supply.

Not only does wheatgrass provide highly nutrient seeds but it  also supplies "fodder." For a few cents worth of wheat seeds and free trays from the local nursery, not only are we saving on feed for our hens but also we are boosting their egg production and overall  health.

"15lbs of wheatgrass is equal in overall nutritional value to 350 lbs of ordinary garden vegetables" - Dr Charles R. Schnabel

Since our hens aren't free ranging, we bring the "pasture" to them.  The grass gives our hens a  much needed boost in winter time not to mention some exercise and fun as they peck and claw at the tray.   In fact, our hens prefer kitchen scraps, wheatgrass and greens from the garden much more than they like the bagged pellets. For a city homesteader, that means savings!

In 1931, Dr Schnabel experimented by letting chickens eat wheatgrass. Did you know what happened?  "Winter egg production rose from the average of 38% to an astonishing 94%"

Even better, that extra boost in nutrition that the chickens take in is transferred from their eggs to the humans that consume them.   Happy and healthy hens means happy & healthy humans!

 


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5 Comments: "POULTRY HEALTH: WINTER WONDER GRASS" »

  1. Anais, I always like to hear about what's going on in the garden and with the animals. It's been too cold for anything other than reading about gardening here in Nebraska. It's been the coldest and windiest Winter I can really remember. Spring has to get here soon, don't you think?

    Have a great sprouting day.

    • I just love growing fodder the the critters. The chickens, ducks, guineas, geese, peafowl and inside Finches love the stuff. In the future, I would like to be able to grow enough fodder to feed it to our milk cows. Do y'all feed it to your goats? How do they like it?

      Great post.

      Blessings -

      ~ Aspen

  2. I notice you specify wheat grass, is there a reason you chose wheat grass over the barley grass that seems to be the basis of commercial fodder systems? Thank you for the blog and the site. Just found them and have already become an avid reader!

  3. Another option is to sprout grains in 5 gallon buckets. We sprout wheat, barley, oats, peas, corn and more. The chickens love it all. We just drill several holes in the bottom of the buckets so that the water will drain slowly, put several inches of grain in the bottom of the bucket and then rinse the grain a couple of times a day. We leave the buckets outside and place them so they get shade in the summer and sun in the winter. We put them over the plants we wish to water and as the water drains through the buckets, our plants are watered. We keep two going all the time. One bucket is sprouting while we are feeding out of the other one.

  4. We grow fodder for our flock as well. We only have chickens that eat it right now though. maybe ducks in the future!
    My favorite part about having chickens is that they are great weed control! It was one unexpected bonus when we got our flock.

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