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10 Plants For Chicken Food You Need To Start Growing

10 Plants For Chicken Food You Need To Start Growing

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I’ve lived around chickens my entire life and I know they love to munch on plants. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

You can use it to your advantage and save a lot of money on chicken feed. Growing poultry-friendly food is an excellent way to do that.

And the best part is that your chickens will be healthier since they will only ingest natural and organic foods, making you healthier in return.

Here are ten plants you can grow for the purpose of feeding your poultry!

Let’s get started!

Growing Your Own Chicken Food

Rising prices of chicken feed will eventually make it almost impossible to have plenty of these avians in your backyard. Get ahead of this issue and start growing your own chicken food.

And when you think about it, people used to feed their poultry with kitchen scraps, grains, and other garden goodies.

That’s when these birds were at their healthiest. And the fact that they can run around your garden freely and look for their own food is great for them, too.

10 Plants For Chicken Feed

Nutritious food such as herbs, grains, and vegetables can improve chicken’s overall health. (1)

It can build their immune system and keep them (and yourself) safe from various diseases.

Here are some plants that these avians adore!

#1 Alfalfa

I gave you the harvesting season for alfalfa, but if you only grow it for your chickens, you don’t have to bother.

Plant this legume and let your poultry eat it whenever they want to. The fiber in alfalfa will improve their digestion and the minerals will keep them healthy.

P.S. Did you know that alfalfa is so rich in pigments it can make the yolk darker? (2)

#2 Chickweed

It’s called chickweed for a reason! Chickens love this grass. The bad news is that you can find this plant on the list of pesky weeds that can destroy your lawn in winter. The good news is that you only need chickens to get rid of it!

This weed will keep your chickens healthy in the long run. It can improve nutrient absorption, which has all sorts of benefits. It helps with digestion, kidney function, and overall health.

Just make sure it doesn’t spread to your real garden or lawn, and you’ll be fine.

#3 Comfrey

Comfrey may not be your first choice for chickens, but it is one of the best things you can feed them. It is one of the few plants in the world that can help poultry synthesize vitamin B12.

Feed your chickens this food and you’ll see an increase in egg production. (3)

Plant comfrey near your chicken coop and you’ll create a symbiotic relationship. Chickens will eat the plant and fertilize it with their manure.

#4 Cucumbers

Cucumbers can take up a lot of space, but if you knew how many cucumbers per plant you can get, you wouldn’t bat an eye.

But that’s not all! This veg is almost all water, so it will hydrate your chickens. It is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making it an excellent plant for their overall health.

#5 Kale

Kale is not only a delicious snack for your avians, but it can also improve their vision. This vegetable is rich in vitamin A and contains other compounds that reduce the risk of blindness.

The good news is that your chickens will munch on almost any leafy green you have, not just kale. The great news is that these vegetables will continue to grow until the chickens destroy their roots (which is highly unlikely).

Just make sure to learn the kale growing stages if you want to give this veg the best conditions.

#6 Lentils

Did you know that lentils are an excellent food source for chickens if you prepare them the right way?

Feed your hens with sprouted lentil seeds and you’ll see the benefits in their overall health. Their immune system will become better as well as their digestion.

And the best part about this grain is that you can eat it, too!

#7 Mint

Natural mint oils can help break down the food your chickens ingest and help their digestion. And to make matters even better, its smell will repel various pests from your garden.

The only thing you need to bear in mind is that it is invasive and can harm your other plants. Luckily, you can plant it in pots and say goodbye to all your troubles.

This herb is low-maintenance, but you still have to know how to keep your mint healthy during winter.

#8 Pumpkins

You may have seen your chickens wreaking havoc all over your pumpkin patch and wondered what on earth has gotten into them!

Well, pumpkins are packed with nutritious seeds. They provide healthy fats, protein, vitamins B and E, potassium, zinc, and magnesium to your chickens. All these nutrients improve poultry’s immune system and overall health.

Make sure to give these vines enough room to grow. Also, don’t forget to fertilize pumpkins the right way if you want to have enough for yourself and your chickens.

#9 Sunflowers

Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats to both us and our chickens. Yet, buying them in stores will quickly add up!

Grow the sunflowers yourself, harvest their seeds once the flower heads turn brown, and you’ll have a great winter snack for your chickens (and your family).

And the best part is that these flowers aren’t that difficult to grow. Just make sure to avoid these common sunflower growing mistakes, and you’ll be fine.

#10 Sweet Corn

This veg is a true delicacy for your chickens. Make sure it has enough room to grow, and it will thrive. Also, a better understanding of the corn growing stages will help you care for this plant as best you can.

Save some cobs for the colder season to have something to feed your chickens or cook a delicious meal for your family.

Just make sure corn isn’t the main meal, but a snack to your chickens, and they will flourish.

Chicken Garden

One thing that can make all the difference is creating a chicken garden. That means planting herbs, grains, and vegetables these birds like to munch on near their coop.

This technique will keep the chickens in one place and they won’t make a total mess of your entire property.

Another thing I love about chicken gardens is how low-maintenance they are. You don’t have to fertilize them because chicken poop acts as nature’s own plant food.

Planning Your Chicken Garden

Chicken gardens don’t need that much planning. The only thing you need to make sure of is that your birds don’t destroy it before establishing.

One thing you can do is keep your poultry in the coop (as long as they have enough space) until your plants are mature enough.

Another thing you can try out is fencing your plants for the time being. This will keep them safe until maturation.

Move your poultry around or let them roam freely so that they always get fresh food to munch on. This technique will also help your land and keep it from being overworked.

Finally, include plants for all seasons. That way, your chickens will always have something fresh to forage.

Growing Chicken Food Without A Garden

What if I don’t have enough room for a garden, but still want to grow my own chicken feed? There’s a solution to your troubles.

You can try growing poultry-friendly plants in containers or start microgreens. They don’t need a long time before they’re ready for the harvest.


1. Wallace, J., Oleszek, W, Franz, C., & Hahn, I. (2010). Dietary Plant Bioactives for Poultry Health and Productivity. British Poultry Science.

2. Why Do Some Eggs Have Darker Yolks? (n.d.). RSPCA Assured.

3. Zhou, H. et. al. (2022). Comfrey Polysaccharides Modulate the Gut Microbiota and Metabolites SCFAs and Affect the Production Performance of Laying Hens. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules.