I love having my chickens, it wouldn’t be a farm without them. But boy, are they expensive! The past couple of years I have been growing a garden just for my feathered ladies! This seems to cut the feed bill down from late spring through early fall.
You don’t have to plant them their own separate garden, you can very easily just plant extra produce and toss them the leftovers!
If you’re all about saving money, here is a list of plants I grow for my chickens:
Alfalfa- A perennial that is very easy to establish. Chop this up or grow this next to their coop and let them free range.
Buckwheat- Chickens love to eat the greens and their seeds as well. Buckwheat can be planted in June and is fast growing!
White Dutch Clover- Low growing, making it a great ground cover that you can plant in pathways between your raised beds or let your flock free range on a small parcel. Clover is high in protein and can be planted in early spring.
Leafy Greens- Lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kale, beet tops, and radish greens are a favorite in the coop. You can start these in early spring. It gives your chickens some essential vitamins and minerals, especially if they do not free range.
Cabbage- If you hang a whole cabbage at beak level this creates some activity for your feathered friends and it’s fun to watch!
Pumpkins- Fresh pumpkins have natural deworming properties. I use this to prevent my flock from getting worms. Eating pumpkins helps in overall gut health. Pumpkins are also high in beta carotene which is also great for chicken health! Pumpkins do take a long time to grow and need quite a bit of room but with such good health benefits, I’m sure you can find space!
Oregano- Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and well known for its antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. Oregano also contains good immune and respiratory properties for your chickens. Chop this herb fresh or even hang them beak high for your flock to snack on. This herb is good for both you and your flock!
Calendula- Good for you, your garden and your flock! The edible flower petals are nutritious and help keep insects out of your garden. When chickens eat calendula, it gives their yolks a brilliant orange color. Calendula has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Thyme- Very aromatic which repels insects and hearty enough to come back every year. I like to put thyme in my nesting boxes. This helpful herb also has antibiotic and antibacterial properties which keeps your chicken’s health on the up and up! Just plant thyme once and enjoy the benefits for you and your chickens for years to come.
Nasturtiums- Good all-around plant for your flock with anti-septic and antibiotic foliage and blooms. Let it go to seed and seeds can be used as a natural chicken de-wormer.
Sage- Throw some fresh sage in with their leafy greens which will give your hens some extra antioxidants and can help prevent salmonella.
Here is a list of plants and vegetables to avoid giving your chickens:
Nightshade plants- unripe tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant (fruit and their foliage)
Avocado pits and skin
When planting your garden this year remember to plant some extra crops for your feathered friends! This will lower your feed bill and give your chickens some extra health benefits as well. Your flock and their eggs will be full of nutrients! Healthy chickens create a happy coop!