What to grow for feeding poultry


I'm currently drawing up a plan for a small lifestyle block (just over 1/2 acre of open space). I have an area I want to use to grow chicken and duck feed on, so that I can reduce our bought in feed. Does anyone have suggestions for crops to grow for them? There will be plenty of food scraps, green areas to forage in etc, but I want to grow a protein source for them mainly I don't have enough space to dedicate an area for grains. 

Thus far I am thinking about establishing a small perennial alfalfa field, which can be used both for a N source on the block (used in mulching and composting) and also as a poultry feed. From what I have read this will last up to 8 years before needing to be reseeded.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Smiles, Laine

You need to be a member of ooooby3 to add comments!

Join ooooby3

Email me when people reply –


  • Bill Mollison produced a comprehensive list in (I think) 'Permaculture - A Designers Manual' if youre near a library. Otherwise I can fax it to you. Its too long to reproduce here.

    • Cheers for the offer, but I have no fax. Can you scan it an email it through? Lainephillips@gmail.com if so. :)

  • white lupin seed info and supplier here http://www.stevensseeds.co.nz/pl4.htm

  • Found a good article here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/Grow-Poultry-Fee... which suggests a large range of crops that can be grown:

    • Most grains in commercial feed for poultry (corn, legumes, and small grains such as wheat, rye, oats and barley) are easy for the homesteader to grow.
    • Other easy-to-grow seed crops include millet, sorghum and sunflowers.
    • Many common garden cover crops — alfalfa, clover, annual rye, kale (and its close relative, rape), turnips, mustard, buckwheat and grain grasses — provide abundant feed for poultry. All can be cut and carried to the chickens, or the chickens can graze these crops.
    • Cowpeas and buckwheat are similar double-duty cover crops with nutritious seeds for chickens.
    • Geese and ducks especially love comfrey. 
    • Certain “people-food” crops also can be used as poultry feed: potatoes, pumpkins, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, plus mangel or fodder beets
    • Sprouting is an especially useful strategy in winter, when fresh foods are scarce.
    • Hulless oats
    • Wheatgrass
    • Wow, that looks like a good list.  Our 3 chooks love flowers... oxalis and daisies when they can get them.  My daughter feeds them various grass seeds through the wires.  They never touched our lemon balm.  One of them loves miners lettuce (winter purslane) and seeks out sorrel - I've planted patches in a few places as it just bunches up and winters over. Sunflowers have always been good.  And usually some of the wheat sprouts into full grown grass too so they nibble that. I might try some of your other crops too.  Thanks for starting the discussion... interesting.

    • I got hold of some white lupin seed from south coast environment centre seedbank in Riverton. they must be available elsewhere too, apparently the seeds can be ground and fed to chickens. whenever I have overgrown zucchinis or kamokamo I save them for chicken food through the winter, seeds and all. Kale and silverbeet are prolific self seeders in my garden so I have loads through the winter to feed them, if you trap possums they can be cooked and given to chickens, There is also the possum-in-a-bucket idea where maggots infest them and drop down through holes, I tried this once, you put sawdust in with it to reduce the smell, but lets just say I don't think we perfected the technique. eeerk! If you have a large area, growing flour corn or maize is easy and yields a lot. and  a snail hunt on a drizzly night usually yields quite a few which I save till morning and feed to them.

  • those gooseberry bushes where the yellow berry is in a paper lantern -can't remember the name/comfrey/fig trees for shade and fruit/choko vine /sunflowers for the seeds when grown

    I grew these around my chicken area so they could peck at them through the chickne wire and not annihilate them-their side was flush with the fence adn the growth was all on the other side where they couldn't get it so the plants were able to survive - I could pick and thrown in stuff from my side, and they could get what they could from theirs. 

    There are ideas in one of the Koanga Gardens books from the library - not sure if the orchard one or t he other one.

    • The gooseberry with the lantern is called 'cape gooseberry' :)

    • Thanks Donna, have you ever gotten your chooks to eat comfrey? I found that my red shavers would only eat it if famished! Meanwhile I had grown huge plot they did not want. Not that it went astray for other uses...

      Smiles, Laine

    • Like yours my australorps- which I dont have anymore -ate it when they felt like it.... mind you its probably only the young leaves that are nice the older ones have those hairy bits...maybe cut up in other food might work if you can be bothered.  I like the help yourself but can't kill it all concept...LOL

This reply was deleted.