Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chicken's salad

That would be chicken's salad as in a salad for chickens and not chicken salad. The girls loved eating grass in the summer, they all came from farms where they had free range. When I got them I felt bad about having to lock them up in a pen but a major highway goes by the door and also they are in a small village so I don't think the neighbors would like chickens digging up their gardens. Also I have a fear of the old question 'why did the chicken cross the road', I think with large trucks speeding past it would be their last time to cross any road.

I want to still give them their greens and so I picked clover and grass for them. Once winter came however I had to think of new treats to give them. I tried growing oats in flower pots on the window and giving it to them about two weeks after it sprouted but that was not worth the effort. I tried spinach and they love it, I also tried broccoli and at first they did not like it but now they have developed a taste for it.

Chicken's salad above

They also love if I break up pieces of bread and add it to the salad. I know bread is not that good for them but it is whole wheat so I tell myself it is better than if I was giving them white bread. I hang the broccoli to keep them busy however now that Lucy and Melda like it, the broccoli is pecked into nothing in a matter of minutes. I also have cabbage but I did not try that yet. They are all very expensive in the stores right now so I share my salad with the girls and not just buy it for them. I like that I never have to throw out bread or buns any more, the girls waste nothing.

I drop it in and they go wild for everything. One thing about Chico, he is very much a little gentle man when it comes to treats. He will not eat a single treat, he will only run around and point out the treats to the hens, calling them the way a rooster does when he finds something tasty.

Darn! Those girls ate all the treats again!

I don't give them lettuce, I'm not sure if it is good for them. I do know it is bad for rabbits being too watery for them and so I don't want to make the girls sick. If anything else works for you let me know. I also give them soft grass hay, they seem to really like that as well, I cut it up to be sure not to choke them with it. I also put straw on the floor, as I said before I find it makes them more active. The only draw back is the little brats will sometimes get scratching around so much that they will fill their food and water feeders with straw. I also feed them back their egg shells once I have used the eggs. The thing with this however is you must let the shells dry out and then crush, crush, crush them. If you don't and just give them the shells of a cracked open egg, you will be asking for trouble. The hens will learn that eggs are good to eat and then it is almost impossible to stop them. The only way being nest boxes where the eggs roll away into a little drawer. I mix my shells in with my oyster shells.


John Gray said...

I would kill for your blue shed its lovely

John Gray said...

lettuce is fine for hens,,....
they will eat almost everything inncluding frogs redents and chicks!!!
if you have one that is extra broody and not eating...a little tinned cat food will pick it up!!!

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

John, thankyou but I can't take credit for building it, that was done by a super handy man who knows a lot about building, much more than I do. I just asked for a few extras for the girls.

Okay I will try lettuce as I some times have more than I can use.

I never had hens eat chicks but I did have hens that ate frogs, toads and mice! I even had an accident where a rabbit went into my coop and had her babies, I caught the hens eating the little rabbits as I walked in.

I find dry cat food is good for hens replacing their feathers or a week hen. I just break it up for them as usually it is too hard.

GardenAndSew said...

Thought I would return the favor and come visit your blog. You have the honor of being the first to visit mine!

It's nice to meet another poultry lover. Entertaining blog as well, I will have to follow this one. As to your last post, I wouldn't hesitate in giving your chickens lettuce or cabbage. You could try leftover tomato, pepper seeds, pasta, corn, or rice for example. Nothing goes to waste at our house. As long as it is not the majority of their diet, its not a problem

One of my favorite treats is a can of corn, juice and all mixed with stale bread. Add enough bread so it will not be soggy, just moist. Your girls will love it!

On another subject, did your bugs look like black pepper scattered on their skin or larger, like rice? Unfortunately, I have TONS of experience with parasites. If you have Northern fowl bugs, you're in trouble. They are the devil to deal with.

If you want bantam Chanteclers, let me know. I know a guy in your area.

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

G&Sew: The bugs looked more like tiny ants, sort of see-through and sort of beige. They looked like lice, I have seen lice on cattle when I was a younger on my parents farm, only on cattle they are black or dark brown. I have dusted twice now and I see where some feathers are starting to grow back. No sign of bugs but I think I see eggs on her feathers, not sure. I will dust this one hen again this week.

I find with my girls, because of the corn in their feed and because of the local farmers giving me corn on the cob for them, if I give corn treats, they look at me as if to say "we already have that stuff"!

I may be getting another bantam this week so I will have to think about that, thank you.

GardenAndSew said...

Sounds like you have it under control. Poultry dust work for lice. I was just worried you had northern fowl mites. Picked them up from a bird we bought and took us two years to get rid of them. We ended up culling and using some pretty harsh chemicals. Wouldn't wish them on anybody. Try to inspect once a month though, bugs can come in from wild birds.

If your girls are spoiled with the corn already, try tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper insides, cantaloupe insides, watermelon. Anything with seeds. Mine will eat it all down to the hard outside If you have a garden, even the plants you have pulled are good for greens.

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

G&S: Thanks for the treats tips, sometimes in summer the garden can get ahead of me, good idea better to give it to the girls than to just compost it. Even now I give them stuff to keep it from going bad on me.
Wow, those bugs sound really bad, I never heard of them before and I sure hope I never get them!