Raising backyard chickens can be costly if you rely only on commercial feeds. Although commercial feed ingredients consist mostly of organic food-grade products like soya beans, corn, copra, fish meal, molasses, rice bran, and other organic materials, it still has chemicals that could boost chicken growth. These chemicals sometimes have adverse effects on human health when the chicken is consumed.
Free-range chickens raised in backyards eat almost anything from bugs, weeds, and even insects like snails and worms. This is what makes free-range chicken taste differently from commercial chickens that are confined in cages and feed purely commercial feeds.
If you are raising chickens and rely only on commercial feeds then you are doing it wrong. Not only that the feeds cost more, but your chickens will taste similar to that of commercial chickens.
Whether you are living in a populated urban city or in a rural province, there is always access to greens. Urban raisers can always get vegetable scraps from the market.
Below are the lists of plants, weeds, and vegetables that you can feed to your flock to save costs of commercial feeds and make your birds healthier.
- Moringa (Malunggay)
- Ipil-ipil leaves
- Madre de agua
- Water Spinach (Kangkong)
- Jute leaves (Saluyot)
- Amaranth (Uray)
- Cassava leaves (Kamoteng kahoy)
- Sweet potato leaves (Kamoteng baging)
- Cabbage (repolyo)
- Lettuce (Litsugas)
- Mustard (Mustasa)
- Carrots, radish (Labanos), and beets
Azolla and duckweed can be mixed with commercial feeds while Ipil-ipil, madre de agua, cassava leaves, and kangkong can be hanged. The rest must be chopped and mixed with feeds. Although all of the above can be given to chickens directly, it will be more efficient if you chopped these greens and mixed them with commercial feeds. The mixing ratio can be 50/50 or 40/50 (40% feeds and 50% greens or vice versa)
The following root crops must be cooked (boiled) and chopped before given to chickens.
- Sweet potato (Kamoteng baging)
- Cassava (Kamoteng kahoy)
Cassava can be poisonous when an uncooked large amount is consumed by chickens.
Another great addition is the banana stalk. If you are living in a rural area and have access to wild bananas, this can be a great money-saver.
These herbal plants are proven to contain antibiotics and antioxidants when chopped and given to chicken (raw)
- Galangal (Langkawas)
- Chilli – chicken-eating chilies can repeal bacteria
- Garlic – antioxidant
- Oregano – antibiotic
- Tanglad (Lemongrass)
- Mugwort (Artemisia)
- Chamomile (Mansanilya)
These natural antioxidants, especially ginger and garlic, must be given to chickens in moderation. Just because it is natural does not mean it can’t have side effects. A large amount of ginger and garlic can cause digestive issues so make sure everything is mixed with commercial feeds. Oregano, lemongrass, artemisia, and sambong can be a potent cure and prevention for mild colds when boiled and served as drinking water.
Lastly, any greens that goats can eat can also be given to chickens especially when chopped or ground.
Here are some video references:
If you have something to add, please leave a comment below.
- Oregano as poultry antibiotic
- Medicinal herbs for chickens
- Plants and vegetables for chickens
- Chillies can repeal bacteria
- Garlic – holistic trinity
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