Aussies Living Simply

Chicken Food

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    Hi, I know this is often discussed in the Chook Chat thread, however I have come back to try and find ideas for what I would like to grow for my chooks and am finding myself searching high and low for the info. It would be great if others could add ideas for what they give their chooks. I have grown Kale for mine which they haven’t been keen on raw, may try cooking it. Steamed pumpkin is a huge hit. They love capsicums. I am trying to keep my own meal worms as well.


    Hi. Imd80 mine love Chinese cabbage (wombok) the most. They are not keen on capsicum or pumpkin. But they really like all cabbages. I am growing a mix of wheat oats grey sunflowers and clover mixes for them in their run.

    I wish you the best. I just grow what they like and I have to pay money for from the shops.

    Others may have some better suggestions


    How about growing some weeds – fat hen, chickweed, amaranth, quinoa, nettle, mustard


    I go for a varied diet as possible.

    Grains, greens & meat(ish)

    I bought a 30 kg bag of scratch mix ($20 I normally get 4 seedings out a bag (12 months)) and grow that in the unoccupied half of the cook run (then swap them over)

    The chooks get all the veg we don’t eat (I plant 10-20 each of cabbage, cauli, broccoli, kale and 30-40 lettuce a month)

    Meat(ish) comes from leftovers (beef & fish no pork or poultry)

    good luck with your endeavours


    I have recently seen “Clucker Tucker” in Green Harvest, a seed pack containing: barrel medic, bok choy, buckwheat, forage chicory, clove, cocksfoot, linseed, lucerne, millet, forage plantain, silverbeet, subclover and sunflower. Also on their Chook Forage page is pigeon pea, grain amaranth and all the cover crops/living mulch plants that you might grow under fruit trees seem to be on the list!?


    Thanks all very helpful! I have fruit trees near where the free range. Maiozen, I think I have some of those weeds in my yard. It has been too wet to mow for awhile so we are seeing quite a few full grown weeds. I’m having trouble identifying them from google images. I will try to photograph them and put up here.


    My ladies don’t get to wander our 5.5 acres because of our dogs so are confined to a 11m x 15m (I think) yard. They eat the grass that is in there plus whatever pokes through their fence from the vegetable garden. I have planted some things along their fence deliberately for them to have, such as the ceylon spinach that they go mad for. The first time they got to the berries gave me a fright – all I saw were their red stained beaks and thought they’d attacked one another!

    They eat coarse laying mash (Advanced Rural Supplies brand), kitchen scraps, weeds, trimmings from the vegetable garden and crushed egg shells even though they have grit in their food and in the dirt in their yard. They love spaghetti and watermelon too. We have 2 young muscovy ducks who eat what the chickens eat as well. I would love to section off part of the chicken yard for growing stuff for them but have not gotten around to doing that.


    another thing you can do is to lay down a piece of plastic/wood/roof sheeting on the ground for a week or two and then when you lift it up you should find the girls will have a large variety of bugs and insects to dine upon, move the sheeting to another place for a time and repeat!! I’ve been known to leave a bit of cat food – mostly the gravy – in the bottom of the tin in the (open) outside laundry for a few days in summer only to find at least 50 maggots crawling around in there. I rinsed out the tin and put the contents on the ground (after assembling the girls first) and it didn’t take long for it all to be cleaned up, I also had to make a hasty retreat as they came looking for more!! :huh: As soon as the weather warms up it becomes my “second use” for the tins of cat food that I buy for our old and narky inside cat!! :tup:


    Thanks, great ideas! I also have pieces of wood in the pen for bugs.. Unfortunately one of our dogs got into the chook pen yesterday afternoon and killed 5 of the 6 including 3 babies 🙁 It was very devastating and took us by surprise, we thought he couldn’t get in. The remaining is an Isa and is also injured but hopefully we can nurse her back. We are hoping to get some more tomorrow and will ensure it is 110% safe from the dog! He may also be moving to a new home now although Im not as set on that today then I was last night. I guess this gives me time to plant some things in the yard as the babies will stay inside the pen for a few weeks or more. So upsetting to lose almost the whole flock, I had gotten quite attached to the older 3 and even the babies were becoming more outgoing and friendly. My 2 year old thinks the chooks have gone to work… Where everyone goes when they are not around :tup:


    lmd80 sorry to hear about your girls 🙁 It is hard to lose them after they become part of the family.

    I once read an article on frugal living in the war years where it was recommended to feed cooked potatoes to hens as grain wasn’t available. It was stated to be 1/4 the energy density of grain so they needed a bigger ration.

    My girls do hoe into left over mashed spud, but they wouldn’t get the added butter and milk if I was using it as part of their feed.


    I am sorry you lost your chickens Imd80. Yesterday I planted a weeping

    mulberry tree in the chicken run.

    I will have to take some pics in spring

    Did you get your new chooks


    I have let my chickens run around the yard after I had them for 2 weeks. We had a lot of rain and all the weeds are nearly waist high.They have been picking at the Styrofoam boxes I have laying around the yard. I sell plants on line and have lots of boxes with seedlings, I have no room to put them out of the way. Is it harmful for them to eat this?


    not sure I’d like my chooks eating it – it may be ok, but I wouldn’t like it


    Personally I reckon chooks eating styro is like us eating sugar.

    Absolutely no nutritional value, just empty calories. They need to have

    real food in their crop, so they get nutrition.

    We also lost a baby last night 🙁 Somehow, the 3 week olds didn’t enter

    the pen with their mum (who apparently wasn’t panicking, but that may

    just be my son’s version, cos he’s only 11 so not terribly observant

    at times). Found 2 this morning :O that coped in about 4* last night,

    but couldn’t find the 3rd one 🙁

    This morning we bought 4 chicks the same age, but she’s not accepting

    them at the moment. I’m hoping they’ll be ok under her tonight and she’ll

    accept them. If not, I may be able to use her body warmth so I don’t have to do the light bulb thing to keep them alive (at night) and they can

    free range (in a safe environment, lots of hidey holes in our backyard)

    amongst themselves during the day.


    Yes we did get 4 today, RIR and Welsummer again, about the same age. Also got a Australorp and Silver Campine that are about the age when we got the last ones, probably 8 or 9 weeks.

    Sorry to hear you loss babies, it really is quite sad. Also, the remaining Isa is still alive, still very tender and not moving lots but I hope she will recover.

    I too looked at a Mulberry tree and will put one in soon, just haven’t decided on which type?

    Within the chook yard, I have planted wormwood, Rosemary and Tansy plus some NZ spinach. Obviously the spinach will get eaten once the chooks are out in the yard but for now they will stay in the pen, it is quite large.

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