Chickens should have a well-balanced diet complete with bugs, insects, and forage. There are all different types of grasses chickens can eat.
Chickens can eat grass as long as it is not treated with chemicals that can harm them. Grass contains many nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and fiber. You can give your chicken grass clippings, but keep in mind that they cannot survive on grass alone.
Chickens also need to eat bugs and insects for complete nutrition. If you want to know if chickens eat grass, check out this article.
What is the Nutritional Profile of Grass?
Some research has shown that chickens allowed to roam free and forage in pastures produce more nutritious eggs than other chickens. When chickens graze in fields, the eggs formed contain less cholesterol and less saturated fat.
Some of the nutritional benefits of chickens eating grass clippings include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Beta Carotene
- Omega 3
- Omega 6
The sunshine the chickens are exposed to while they are foraging increases their vitamin D. The grass is also a fantastic source of fiber, which helps stimulate a healthy digestive system. (source: psu.edu)
Can Chickens Eat Grass Clippings?
Chickens can most certainly eat grass clippings. If you have just mowed the lawn, you can place a large bowl filled with fresh, clean water and grass clippings to keep them cool, as the cold water will help lower their body temperature. However, there is a downside.
Chickens who consume grass clippings are more likely to swallow the blade whole than nibble off the tip. They often get into the grass clippings because they seek out bugs and insects.
Remember, chickens cannot thrive on grass alone. They need delicious bugs to eat. Most importantly, do not allow your chickens to eat grass that has been treated with chemicals.
Are There Any Potential Issues?
Some chicken owners have a crop impaction issue with their chickens when they eat too many grass clippings. Wet grass clippings are primarily the problem.
However, dry grass clippings should not pose a problem. It is okay for chickens to eat a lot of grass as long as they have a well-balanced diet and all their nutritional needs are met.
Impaction and the sour crop can also become an issue, but it typically occurs when the chicken has hard or stringy grass. If the yield has been impacted, you should stop limiting the food and ensure they drink plenty of water.
Some grasses are not safe for them to eat, but your birds are smart enough to know which grasses to avoid.
Here’s video proof that chickens love to eat grass:
What Type of Grasses Do Chickens Like?
Chickens like grass that they can tear into little pieces with their beak, and tough, dry stalks have the propensity to get stuck in the chicken’s throat. Your chickens can eat rye and wheatgrass as long as they are green and growing in the ground.
Lawn clippings can entertain your chickens, as they can kick and spread them around. The trick is to provide them with lush green grass all year round.
The following include the specific grasses that are good for chickens:
Alfalfa Grass for Chickens
Chickens love alfalfa because it is high in nutrients and appeals to them, and this grass is relatively high in omega 3’s. The eggs produced by chickens that feed off this grass are delicious and nutritious. You will appreciate the rich alfalfa flavor.
White Clover for Chickens
White clover has plenty of vitamins and minerals for your chickens. Clover is often grown in colder climates and can regerminate quickly. Clover is high in calcium and vitamins A and B. It is a delicious, healthy snack for your chickens.
Rye for Chickens
You can feed egg-laying hens ryegrass. It will endure through the coldest cold and the hottest hot. Chickens enjoy rye the same way they like to eat corn, as they will gobble it up quickly. Too much rye, however, can lead to moisture in the litter, which can cause problems.
Bird’s Foot Trefoil for Chickens
Trefoil does well in all kinds of soil and can be substituted for alfalfa, and this yellow-flowered plant is a pea family member. It can survive close grazing, trampling, and mowing and is often included in hay mixes.
Oat Grass for Chickens
Oat grass is great for yards that do not have much light. These grasses grow best in cooler weather. Your chickens will get a kick out of grazing at their seeds. Oat grass contains many essential nutrients, like protein and calcium.
Fescue for Chickens
Fescue is a common grass type for chickens. It can withstand most climates, mainly if it receives adequate water. They also spread and germinate quickly. The seeded heads provide chickens with excellent nutrition, and many people say this is hands down the best grass for chickens.
Grass Seed Mixes
Many farmers like to plant a mixture of all the above grasses in their yards. Having a well-balanced ratio of all the different grasses and seeds is essential. The best solution is to create a mix that will endure in your weather and make your chickens happy.
Premium Chick’s Mix
This grass mixture is a viable option for most of the country. It is excellent and nutritious for hens who lay eggs because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. If you take care of this grass, your yard will thank you. It has most of the seeds that are best for chickens.
Can Long Grass Be Harmful to Chickens?
Chickens primarily like to eat shorter grasses. They enjoy the taller, longer grass and only properly digest deep green grass. Mature grass does not provide the same thrill for them. Tall grasses may also trigger impaction, as they do not properly digest it.
Tall grass can be a detriment to your chickens, who need to know when a predator is coming so they can protect themselves and their flock. As a general rule, chickens prefer lush green grass. You can also use tall grass clippings for bedding, as it can be better for the chicken to lay on rather than eat.
Chickens can eat fresh, dark green grass, which is most appetizing. However, chickens need more nutrients to survive and should be fed a healthy, well-balanced diet to go along with their forage.