Chickens love gardens, they love to eat plants, fresh vegetables and fruits, and planting a garden specifically for them is a great way to provide them with nutrients so they can keep providing you with eggs. In this blog post, we will look at some of the best garden plants for chickens to eat that are easy to grow in your backyard garden.
First up we need to know what nutrients a chicken needs. Chickens need a well-balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. While I recommend that you buy commercially produced chicken feed that contains all of these nutrients, I am also an advocate for homegrown plants to supplement a chickens diet.
One great plant to grow for chickens is kale. A member of the brassica family and an easy to grow winter plant. Very recognisable with it’s frilly green leaves. This vegetable will grow through winter and you can even get a couple of seasons crop from it if you only remove the lower leaves as you require them.
Brassicaceae is the scientific name for Brassica vegetables, which are part of the mustard family. Brassicas are also members of the Cruciferae (Cruciferous vegetables), or cabbage family. Brassicas are among the world’s most widely grown veggies, and some of them are among the most nutritious foods available.
The Brassica oleracea family of veggies includes hundreds of subspecies with a variety of health advantages, including vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, and glucosinolates. Brassica vegetables are also high in soluble fiber. All of that makes them ideal for your feathered friends. My chickens favourite brassicas are broccoli, kale and cabbage.
Quick growing vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard and lettuces are always handy to have, and they can grow in between some of the slower growing plants.
Chickens also love to eat fruits, and one of their favorites is watermelon. Watermelon is a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, and is a welcomed treat on a hot summers day.
Not just there to make your garden look pretty, there are some flowers that have some wonderful nutritional value.
Nasturtiums: not only are these flowers beautiful, but they are also a great source of vitamins A and C for your chickens.
Zinnias: these pretty flowers are a favorite among chickens, and they make a great addition to any chicken garden.
Sunflowers: not only do sunflowers provide your chickens with a nutritious snack, but they also make a beautiful addition to your garden and attract pollinating insects.
Other Beneficial Plants
You may also want to consider other field crop type plants such as: Plantain, Minutina, Cocksfoot, Sorrel, Dandelion, Subterranean Clover, Red Clover, Beet Blend and Chicory Blend. Many people would look at these as weeds, however they are jam packed full of nutrients, making them a great source for your chickens and also as a form of green mulch for your gardens.
So in summary, there are many garden plants for chickens to eat that are easy to grow in your backyard garden. By planting a few of these, you can supplement your chicken’s diet with some much needed nutrients.
What other plants do you grow in your garden for chickens? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!