Do Chickens Eat Grass? All Questions Answered

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Chickens do eat grass and it will form part of their balanced diet. Chickens will prefer short, fresh and green grass and plenty of it, so ensure you're able to balance their grass pecking with commercial chicken feeds, as well as vegetables, fruits and chicken grit.

You probably already know that chickens are omnivores and feed on seeds, grubs, and other insects. But do chickens eat grass? Read on to find out the answer to this question and many more!

Chickens Can Eat Grass

Chickens can eat grass as it’s a vital part of a chicken’s diet. Generally speaking, foraging birds are normally healthier than those kept in confinement.

When chickens eat grass, they get protein, fiber, and other nutrients that are necessary for their growth and development – and most importantly – to produce healthy eggs and tasty meat for us!

Fresh grass helps meet a significant portion of a chicken’s regular nutrition needs. It reduces the cost of chicken feed for backyard chicken keepers or homestead owners.

Do Chickens Enjoy Eating Grass?

Fresh grass is loved by chickens and butterflies alike. Just as other birds in the wild do, chickens forage in the garden for fresh grass and seeds.

Due to the abundance of worms and other insects on your lawn, it is one of the best places for your chickens to be. Worms and other insects can damage your lawn much faster than chickens, and chickens can help you control their population while gaining some free protein for themselves.

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a chicken eating short grass

Although we humans cannot eat grass, many animals enjoy eating it. Chickens like eating grass because it’s rich in protein, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Grass also provides chickens with minerals such as calcium, iron, and selenium. It also supports their digestive system because it contains natural fiber.

Chickens also enjoy eating weeds like broadleaf. If you often remove weeds from your garden, don’t simply throw them away. Feed them to your flock instead and they will appreciate it, meaning that you’ll be getting rid of weeds and keeping your chickens happy at the same time.   

Is Grass Safe For Chickens?

It’s safe for your chickens to consume grass if it hasn’t been sprayed with harmful herbicides and pesticides.

In fact, grass-fed chicken and pastured eggs are good for you too. According to a study by the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, chickens with access to grass are able to deliver more nutrient-dense eggs and meat, specifically because of higher levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Is Too Much Grass Bad For Chickens?

Too much grass isn’t necessarily bad for chickens, but it does contain a lot of fibre.

If your chickens are kept on a balanced diet and have access to grains or pellets, they are also unlikely to consume too much grass.  

Is Tall Grass Bad for Chickens?

It’s not tall grass that’s bad for birds, but hay-type grass with thick and strong stems. While chickens love short grasses, they cannot digest tall, mature grass and they will quickly lose interest in it.

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Another problem with tall, mature grass is crop impaction. Since they cannot digest it well, it can lead to an impacted crop and many other issues if they eat it.

For example, tall grass can impede your chickens and restrict their ability to move around. Tall grass also makes your chickens vulnerable to predators, so it’s best to keep them away from these areas on your farm.

What Types of Grass Is Ideal for Chickens?

The best kind of grass for chickens is lush green grass which contains a lot of vitamins and other nutrients. Once the grasses or lawn clippings fade, they lose their nutritional value, so make sure your chickens eat the soft, green grasses. 

Chickens can eat grass clippings if they have not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. Grass seed is also ideal for chickens as is dried grass that is made from lush green grass.

Crabgrass, oats, wheat, and clovers are also good for chickens to eat. In particular, clovers thrive in many climates and provide essential nutrients like protein and vitamins just like grass.  

Keep a Close Eye on Your Flock

Unless you’re watching your chickens’ every move, you cannot prevent your birds from eating grass if you allow them to free range. The best thing to do is to watch out for anything abnormal. If they get sick or see any signs of digestive problems, it’s best to restrict them to the garden or chicken coop.

Although grass is a good source of nutrients for chickens, it doesn’t meet all their nutritional needs and you’ll need to supplement your grass-eating birds with proper chicken foods.

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick is an avid pet lover and passionate writer who enjoys crafting stories and feels most alive when telling stories about people whose lives have been enriched by their pets. He enjoys adding more chickens to his flock and loves sharing insights on how to take better care of pets and other animals in our lives. When not writing and raising chickens, Patrick enjoys traveling and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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