Many feed options available

Many options to feed your chooks

Smart Farmer How To
YUMMY: While poultry are known to enjoy chickweed, there are many nutritional options for feeding your chooks. PHOTO: Shutterstock

YUMMY: While poultry are known to enjoy chickweed, there are many nutritional options for feeding your chooks. PHOTO: Shutterstock

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Smart Farmer's poultry expert Bruce Pattinson takes a further look at what makes good feed for chooks.

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I've had a few comments on that last article with many people catching me around and letting me know what I'd missed!

It's amazing the variety of plant material that people grow to feed their chooks.

My mate down south suggested that I'd completely ignored his set-up of growing berries, such as blueberries, around his pens so that the birds can get a snack of fallen or damaged fruit.

I thought this was very generous as the chooks wouldn't get any blueberries in my house.

Others suggested any deciduous fruit tree was a great idea as they provide excellent shade in summer but let the sun in during the colder months.

Poultry do love a bit of apples or the softer stone fruits and they will eat the fruit that is damaged and clean up any bugs.

In a thoughtful response one of our readers, Julie Smee, offers this advice.

'Apart from encouraging chick weed where ever I can, I also grow trays of sprouting wheat, which can be a mix of anything that will come up in winter including Pac Choy and broccoli. I trim it a few times for the chooks then flip the trays onto raised gardens to slowly decompose through winter as green manure. I also grow swamp arrowroot around the coop, it forms a dense growth of tall green leaves about 3 metres height, good for shading the coop in summer and in winter I chop into the top of the plants and hang for the chooks to pick at. It is very nutritious and likes any water run- off.'

There are certainly some good ideas Julie suggests here and I think we all all testify that chooks love chickweed.

A few locals suggested they haunt the bins around supermarkets and the local vegetable shop to get scraps of fruit and veges that would otherwise go to waste which is recycling to the ultimate.

You can tell I live in a non-urban area.

Another lady told me at a meeting that she always bought the vegies with the most excess leaves and only whole lettuce so there was always something for her birds.

It seems that people have become quite inventive in their love of chooks.

If you have any ideas let us know.

Now the lock-downs are back it's a good time to start planting or build a garden anyway.

Take care and all the best over the coming weeks.

Aa

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