Ensuring your chickens have decent protein in their diets is part and parcel of being a poultry farmer. With that being the case, you may be looking for a tasty treat to add to your chickens' daily menu.
You might have heard of alfalfa, or lucerne, especially if you farm other animals as well as chickens. It's a great source of protein and tasty for the animals, too.
So can chickens eat it? Let's take a look at the facts.
What Is Alfalfa?
As a legume (such as a bean), alfalfa is a highly nutritious food grown worldwide and used as animal feed. It's so good, in fact, that it's used for many different kinds of animals and farms. That's because of its high fibre and protein content, and - as we know - protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. For humans, cattle, and birds alike.
Alfalfa can develop in many different ways depending on the animal you'd like to feed it to; popular methods include cube or hay form.
Is It Safe To Feed Alfalfa to Chickens?
Good news - alfalfa is not toxic to chickens! However, there are some things you'll want to consider if you decide to add it to your chickens' diets. There's a chance your chickens will struggle to digest alfalfa's long and dry fibres.
Furthermore, you'll want to ensure you don't give them too much, as a change in diet can lead to an upset digestive system - especially adding in so much protein.
The Benefits of Eating Alfalfa for Chickens
As mentioned, alfalfa is incredibly nutritious for numerous animals. That's because it's jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and E and minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron.
Growing big, strong, and healthy chickens requires enrichment and a balanced diet full of these elements, which is why alfalfa is a great choice!
Like humans, birds use protein to help them grow big and strong. It's an integral element of their diet to ensure they are healthy. How much protein you feed your chickens depends entirely on your plans for them, but one thing is certain: the more protein in your chickens' diet, the tastier their eggs will be!
As a poultry farmer, keeping your chickens happy and healthy should be a top priority, so with that in mind, we recommend treating them to a little alfalfa occasionally!
We all know fibre is essential to any diet, but do you know exactly how and why? Recent research has suggested that fibre intake directly impacts how well birds can efficiently access the other nutrients in their diets. That's big news! What's the point in feeding your chickens all these nutrients if they're not getting the most out of it?
Well, you're in luck because alfalfa is a high-fibre snack, so using some in your chickens' diets will set them on the right track.
While we can see that alfalfa has many health and nutrient-rich benefits, adding variety to your chickens' diets is equally as important. That's because most of the time, any type of chicken feed will not be able to provide your chickens with everything they need for a healthy life.
How Often Should Chickens Eat Alfalfa?
If you’re running a commercial poultry farm, you may want to buy larger alfalfa or lucerne bales and leave them in the shed for your chickens. If you’re running a domestic operation, opt for briquettes that can be left with the birds.
Ultimately, when adding any new food to your chickens' diets, be certain to add anything gradually so you don’t negatively impact chicken’s digestive systems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?
Alfalfa sprouts are a great way to add the legume to your chickens' diets. It's the tiny, young-shoot version of the food and is very nutritious and easy for your chickens to eat. As with any element of alfalfa in your poultry's diet, ensure you only add a small amount.
Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Pellets?
Yes. As with any other alfalfa product, chickens can eat alfalfa pellets. This would be an excellent choice for your poultry farm, given their condensed form, which makes them far less messy - always a plus when working with animals. Remember to only add in moderation!
Have a Poultry Farm? Shop Dalton Engineering For All Your Poultry Farm Needs!
If you want to add a nutritious and tasty treat to your chickens' diets, look no further than alfalfa. No matter the form in which you choose to add it, alfalfa is jam-packed with all the goodness your chickens need, from vitamins to minerals. And the best bit? They love it!
The only thing to consider when giving this snack to your chickens is the age–old saying: everything in moderation. Be careful not to overfeed your chickens protein of any kind, as it will upset their sensitive digestive systems - and trust us, you don't want that!
For more information and alfalfa products, check out Dalton Engineering. We stock everything you need to maintain a working poultry farm and keep your chickens happy and healthy. We're always happy to help, so reach out now, and we can answer any questions you might have!