Growing sunflowers to eat... (You AND you animals!

cluckmecoop7

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I grew sunflowers this summer, and when they were ready to be harvested, I, well, harvested them! (Of course...lol)
I decided to save some money on chicken food, so I fed sunflower seeds, as well as chicken food. But I used a smaller amount of chicken food while the sunflower seeds lasted, so I saved some money this month!

Next year, I'm planning to grow enough sunflowers for my family, and my chickens!

- Clucky
 

Mini Horses

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My chickens & goats LOVE them. I could grow enough if I devoted at least an acre. :lol: I've often had them grow & flower from seeds thrown out that they missed when feeding. Also, milo will grow well and provide a large seed head that is easy to harvest by just letting it dry and then hanging the head into a bucket, hitting onto sides. You know, they also love pumpkin seeds -- which have been shown to have some deworming properties -- and, they will eat the pumpkin pulp. Whole pumpkins can be stored for quite a while if managed properly.

Another thing I found the chickens loved (surprise to me!) were turnips. Yep. A neighbor had planted LOTS below his fruit trees and wanted only the tops. So, in Dec/Jan he asked me if I wanted the turnips for my goats...still in ground. SURE! I walked back to the site and began pulling these huge turnips. Really, I had 4 front end loads on my tractor. As I filled, drove back & dumped in a pile...planned to cover and use along each day. I chopped them with a machete and found the chickens acted like it was candy! Goats ate them nicely. So, now I grow a few and leave in ground, pull as needed. Need more than I have this year. Didn't get pumpkins in. Trying to get to clear a field from some farmers...always an "after season" thing.

There are several plants, along these lines, to help with livestock feed. I've been saying I want to increase my growing of these for a couple years. Next year I plan to be far more serious as I want to stop working & raising far more of my own feeds will be necessary. Pastures are well established here and I keep working to improve but, other things are needed. With more time to work it, this should be improved over a couple years. Always a work in progress. :old
 

Lazy Gardener

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Lots of home grown plants for chicken flocks: They will glean ALL the material left behind after garden harvest. I'm particularly thankful that they dig some of the potatoes I miss. At the end of the day, I'll walk through and pick up any potatoes they've kicked up. My flock gets all the overgrown zucchini, any squash that is past prime for human enjoyment, lots of over grown greens in the garden. They demolish rhubarb leaves: said to be antihelminthic.

I've planted an area to red clover and winter rye. Instead of turning that under in the spring, I'll let it grow up, get several harvests for high protein hay (bedding and eats for chickens, mulch for the garden) before letting it go to seed for more eats for the chickens. I also intend to sow some millet, milo, BOSS perhaps some dent corn in that area.

Good idea on the turnips.
 

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Do you like the flavor of the Tuscan better than the Russian? I have always grown Russian, but am trying a mix that includes Tuscan this winter.
 

cluckmecoop7

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My chickens & goats LOVE them. I could grow enough if I devoted at least an acre. :lol: I've often had them grow & flower from seeds thrown out that they missed when feeding. Also, milo will grow well and provide a large seed head that is easy to harvest by just letting it dry and then hanging the head into a bucket, hitting onto sides. You know, they also love pumpkin seeds -- which have been shown to have some deworming properties -- and, they will eat the pumpkin pulp. Whole pumpkins can be stored for quite a while if managed properly.

Another thing I found the chickens loved (surprise to me!) were turnips. Yep. A neighbor had planted LOTS below his fruit trees and wanted only the tops. So, in Dec/Jan he asked me if I wanted the turnips for my goats...still in ground. SURE! I walked back to the site and began pulling these huge turnips. Really, I had 4 front end loads on my tractor. As I filled, drove back & dumped in a pile...planned to cover and use along each day. I chopped them with a machete and found the chickens acted like it was candy! Goats ate them nicely. So, now I grow a few and leave in ground, pull as needed. Need more than I have this year. Didn't get pumpkins in. Trying to get to clear a field from some farmers...always an "after season" thing.

There are several plants, along these lines, to help with livestock feed. I've been saying I want to increase my growing of these for a couple years. Next year I plan to be far more serious as I want to stop working & raising far more of my own feeds will be necessary. Pastures are well established here and I keep working to improve but, other things are needed. With more time to work it, this should be improved over a couple years. Always a work in progress. :old
So when I make my jackle-lantern, I can give my chickens the insides and seeds?
 

Mini Horses

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What's REALLY cool is to put out a huge (I use 1/4) cut of watermelon for the chickens. Next day you will see just the rind...best clean off ever! I couldn't do this with a knife :D
 

Britesea

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The first time I ever threw a watermelon out for the ducks, no one touched it. It was a smaller one, that we had cut in half... I realized later in the day that it sorta looked like a big mouth of some scary monster in the ground. So I cut it into wedges, and voila! it was gone in hours.

@Lazy Gardener I prefer the flavor of the Tuscan kale. It also seems a little hardier than the others, at least for me. Unprotected in the garden, it usually lasts until February.
 

Hinotori

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I've been thinking of putting in some rows of sunflowers for the chickens. We grew sunflowers for winter wild bird food when I was growing up.
 
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