Chicken Feed Garden

I would love to grow enough grains that I rarely have to supplement my chicken feed with store bought food. Do you have any recommendations for types of grains or any experience with balancing your chickens’ diet with grains and plants?


  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    We are planning and planting a chicken garden - an area of our yard where the chickens can roam and browse the different plants/shrubs etc planted there. I have found a few different books on the subject with recommendations of what to plant for the chickens to use as food, as cover while feeding, etc. Ours is not up and running yet since we are only in year two of planting (and I dont want the chickens to decimate young plants and shrubs), but I am really excited to supplement our feed naturally!

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    Each year, I plant extra greens and squash for the chickens and there are always enough tomatoes to share. This year I planted Siberian pea, I read chickens are very fond of its legumes, I'll find out when the shrubs mature. @chimboodle04 What plants and shrubs are you planting?

  • anectarine1
    anectarine1 Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    Awesome! Do you remember the name of the book? What have you planted so far?

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    @merlin44 @anectarine1 Sorry - the answers to those should have been a part of my original response! I guess that's what happens when you respond at 3 in the morning because you are trying to stay awake to get your last jars out of the pressure canner lol! The book that I have found to be the most helpful in planning and planting is Free-range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom. I have also read Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele, but found it to be personally less helpful. So far in the yard where we will let the chickens roam and browse (about a 50x50 foot space for 4 chickens), we have planted multiple blueberries, crabapples, an apple tree, cherry bush, fig tree, quince tree, cranberries, aronia bush, and gooseberry bushes. We plan on adding currants and other fruiting shrubs to this mix (just not sure exactly what yet), along with some shrubs that the chickens can use for cover (thinks thorns or jagged leaves). We will also add in beneficial herbs that are hardy to our area and have encouraged the lawn there to run with weeds the chickens will enjoy. We are really in the stage of getting our shrub and tree landscaping in place before we will add in additional plants for food and aesthetics as well (the first book also gives great info on perennials that chickens mostly do not like to eat if they have other options, so we will see :) ) so you can have a garden and productive chicken area in one. We live on .4 acres in the suburbs, so having a portion of our back yard useful for multiple reasons (the kids main play spot is also within these bounds) has been very attractive to us :)

  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    I guess I will be adding a chicken garden to my to do list.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    We grew mangles one year. I wanted to see how they would do for us. Unfortunately our ground has too much clay and is very rocky so they didn't do great, but the chickens did like the ones that grew. I have read accounts of others who hang them in the coop so the girls can play with their food. Haha. I have wondered about sprouting frames for chickens that have to be confined to a fenced area. I really hadn't thought of planting shrubs and such. We have lost a few chickens recently to a coyote and are going to have to do something. I hate confining them, they love their freedom so much, but I hate even more feeding them to coyotes.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    @chimboodle04 thanks for the details, I'm always seeking ways to allow the critters to 'self feed'

    This year, I have an abundance of passion flowers and apparently chickens are also a fan. I've noticed them dining on the maypops. Thinking the chicks will be seeding a much larger area with the beautiful flower for me. They apparently enjoy goji berries as well, they've taken more than their share this year, will be fencing them off next year

    @VickiP what are mangles?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    Interesting discussion.

    Have you thought of including medicinal herbs? There are many which are extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons, to increasing egg production to repelling critters to respiratory/health ailments, etc.