Saturday, 17 February 2007

Chook Forage/Fodder Plants

My chook runs have been designed to feed the chooks.

This thread on the Earth Garden Path forum had some great ideas for worming plants to grow but here I'll look at day to day forage/feed plants.

We have the old girls running (???) under our fruit trees to clean up the fallen fruit .

In our chook runs we have
  • Tagasaste Chamaecytisus palmensis
  • Almonds
  • Wormwoods 1
  • Coprosma repens 2
  • Grapevines on fences 3
  • Fig 4
  • Black Mulberries 5
Also Native plants
  • Local Acacias
  • Local salt bush (they eat the berries) 1, 2
  • Kangaroo Apple Solanum aviculare 3, 4
  • Quandongs 5

Currently I'm growing just for the chooks
  • Sunflowers
  • Strawberry Spinach 1
  • Ethiopian Cabbage 2
  • Silverbeet 3
  • French Sorrel 4
  • Russian Kale 5

I have seedlings ready for Autumn planting of:
  • Toscano Kale
  • Perpetual Spinach
  • 5 Colour Silverbeet
  • Plain Silverbeet
  • Rhubarb Chard
  • And I will plant Golden turnips for greens
There's usually plenty of Winter grasses and weeds around IF it rains this year. Also:
  • An unidentified weed. They love the seeds!
  • Dandelions 1
  • Horseradish 2
  • Comfrey 3
  • Purslane 4
  • Nettles
  • Lucerne
Newly planted these all need protection from the chooks and so do the root zones from constant scratching.

Rocks and wire cages come in handy...

As does shade cloth along the fences for the edge beds outside.

Occasionally these rocks are moved (by me) to expose bugs that the chooks love to scratch up.

There's always plenty of leftover veggies. Corn, tomatoes, zucchini etc

Sorghum in the past has been good (but it didn't grow this year) .
I also sprout wheat for them in summer. See here.

Australian books on this subject I've found useful include:
Backyard Poultry - Naturally by Alanna Moore
The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow
Jackie French's Chook Book
Earth Garden's Chook Wisdom
Chookwise by Linda Marold

Helpful sections on chicken forage/fodder plants in:
Introduction to Permaculture By Bill Mollison with Reny Mia Slay
Permaculture Two by Bill Mollison

Along with all these food plants they also have mash in the morning!!


  1. Well fed chickens! We have had a bird flu scare over here in Suffolk, England which is worrying for a lot of people who keep chickens.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing what plants you have planted for your chooks. I live in suburban Melbourne and have grown up around chooks - however the chooks I grew up with had plenty of trees for shade and grass to peck at. I now have 1 little hen and I have been unsure what to plant in her run as our back yard is small, very few plants or grass (after lack of rain). I do not want to plant the wrong plants and harm her. After reading your information I feel confident that I will be able to find plants that she will enjoy to eat!! Thanx again!!


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