best alfalfa for chickens

The Best Darn Alfalfa for Your Chickens



—> Last Updated:

I gotta tell ya, I’ve been raising chickens on my little farm here for near 20 years now.

And let me tell you, I’ve made just about every mistake you can when it comes to feeding these crazy birds.

Like this one time I bought a new bag of feed down at the local hardware store.

I didn’t pay much attention to what was in it, just wanted something cheap.

Got home, poured it in the feeder and walked away.

An hour later, my chickens had barely touched it!

Turns out it had hardly any alfalfa in it at all.

Those chickens went hungry that night, and ol’ Tanner learned a valuable lesson about reading labels.

So when you asked me about the best alfalfa for chickens, I knew I had to share what I’ve learned over the years.

Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know to keep your flock happy and healthy!

Buy Certified Organic Alfalfa

best alfalfa for chickens

First things first, you gotta get organic alfalfa.

I know some of those huge agribusiness farms try to sell non-organic stuff for cheap, but don’t fall for it!

Here’s why certified organic is so important:

For starters, organic means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers were used.

That stuff can really hurt your chickens and contaminate their eggs.

I tried giving my girls some non-organic alfalfa once – big mistake.

They barely touched it and got real sick soon after.

Plus, organic farmers use natural techniques that enrich the soil and bring out all the nutrients in the alfalfa.

Healthier soil means more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your flock.

Organic farms also have strict oversight and inspections to verify quality.

You can really trust that organic seal when it comes to alfalfa.

See also  Chickens Will Go Crazy For Raw Onions – But Should You Feed It To ‘Em?

The flavor and nutrition difference is night and day.

Your chickens will thank you for the extra effort, trust me.

Make Sure It’s High Quality

best alfalfa for chickens

Not all organic alfalfa is created equal.

You want the good stuff – lush, green, and packed with nutrients.

Here’s what to look for:

Green color – avoid yellow or brown hay, it’s past its prime.

I like a nice bright green, that’s when the nutrients are peaking.

Long, sturdy stems so it stays fresh longer.

Limp, brittle stems mean it’s old or was harvested too early.

Lots of leaves (chickens love leaves!).

That’s where most of the protein comes from.

Make sure the leaves aren’t falling off easily.

Strong alfalfa scent is a good sign of freshness.

If it smells musty or stale, pass on that bale.

Subpar alfalfa just won’t cut it.

Remember, you get what you pay for.

Consider Pelleted Alfalfa Too

While the chickens go crazy for fresh alfalfa, the pelleted stuff has some advantages too:

It’s easier to store and feed than loose hay.

No mess, no fuss – just pour it in the feeder.

Pelleted alfalfa also lasts a lot longer.

Loose hay can get moldy after a week or two.

Pellets maintain quality for months in a sealed container.

There’s way less waste with pellets too.

Chickens love to scratch through loose hay and kick it out of the feeder.

Pellets stay neatly in the feeder where they belong.

Just be sure to get organic, high quality pellets without any binders or fillers.

I like to use both fresh and pelleted alfalfa to give my chickens variety.

Well there ya have it folks, Tanner’s top tips for choosing the best darn alfalfa for your chickens.

Give them the good stuff and you’ll be rewarded with healthy birds and tasty fresh eggs!


Choose Between Bales or Loose Alfalfa

When it comes to buying alfalfa, you’ve got two main options – bales or loose.

Baled alfalfa is the traditional option most folks are familiar with.

See also  Can Baby Chicks Benefit from Including Dog Food in Their Diet?

It’s easy to transport and stacks nicely for storage.

But it can be tricky to break up a bale and put in your feeders.

You’ll need wire cutters and it can get messy.

Loose alfalfa avoids that hassle.

It’s already broken up and ready to pour right into your feeders.

No tools or trouble needed.

But loose hay is harder to handle and transport.

And it takes up more storage space since it’s not compressed into dense bales.

So consider how much you need to buy and what works best for your setup.

For a small hobby flock, loose alfalfa may be easier to manage.

For large flocks, bales are often more efficient.

Store Alfalfa Properly to Maintain Freshness

It’s important to store your alfalfa properly once you get it home.

Exposure to moisture is the enemy – it can quickly lead to moldy, rotten hay.

For baled alfalfa, store in a covered shed or barn if possible.

Get it up off the ground on pallets to avoid moisture from below.

You can also cover bales with tarps as additional protection.

For loose hay, store in covered tubs or bins.

Make sure any containers have good sealing lids.

I like to use galvanized metal trash cans.

Pelleted alfalfa should be stored in an airtight container.

Five gallon buckets with tight lids work great.

Always check your stored hay regularly for any signs of moisture or mold.

Discard any bales or tubs with issues.

A few spoiled patches can ruin the whole batch.

Grow Your Own Alfalfa for Freshest Results

For the absolute freshest alfalfa, consider growing your own.

It may seem intimidating, but alfalfa is pretty easy to grow.

It doesn’t require any special equipment.

And chickens will happily help till up a small patch!

Alfalfa prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

Add some compost or manure before planting for fertility.

You can plant seeds directly in spring, or start indoors and transplant seedlings.

Make sure to keep it watered, especially when first establishing.

See also  Can My Chickens Chow Down on Gourds?

In a couple months, you’ll have your own fresh alfalfa harvest!

Let chickens graze it directly in the patch for maximum freshness.

Or cut, dry, and store it yourself when the stems get tall and blooms appear.

Having your own mini alfalfa farm is so rewarding.

Avoid Moldy or Rotten Alfalfa

Now I want to warn you about the dangers of moldy or rotten alfalfa.

It can make chickens very sick, even lead to death.

Always inspect alfalfa closely before feeding it.

Look for black or white mold, which may look fuzzy or powdery.

Sniff for a strong musty, ammonia-like odor, which indicates decay.

Check that stems are not brown, slimy, or falling apart.

Rotten alfalfa may be wet or warm to the touch.

If you detect any signs, don’t take risks – just discard it.

It’s not worth potentially losing chickens.

Prevention is key – follow proper storage guidelines.

And feed alfalfa within a few weeks before it goes bad.

Offer Alfalfa Free Choice for Maximum Benefit

For the healthiest chickens, offer alfalfa free choice.

That means keeping it available 24/7 for pecking and grazing.

Use several dispersed feeders so all chickens can access it.

Refill feeders often to prevent waste and spoilage.

Chickens know how much alfalfa they need to thrive.

Limiting access prevents them from following their natural instincts.

Free choice feeding reduces stress and problem behaviors too.

Happy chickens will reward you with more eggs!

The more alfalfa available, the better in my experience.

Just keep an eye out for overweight birds.

Adjust amounts accordingly if that becomes an issue.

Well, I think that covers the alfalfa basics pretty darn well.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

how to raise chickens for eggs book pdf

Get Crackin’ on Your Own Egg Empire

Do you crave the rich golden yolks and thick whites that only come from the freshest eggs?

After nearly a decade running my own egg empire and mastering the art of keeping chickens, I’ve stuffed all my insider secrets into the aptly named “How to Raise Chickens for Eggs”.

how to raise chickens for eggs book pdf

Get Crackin’ on Your Own Egg Empire

Do you crave the rich golden yolks and thick whites that only come from the freshest eggs?

Dream of a waddling flock of feathered friends in your own backyard?

Then stop dreaming and start hatching a plan, people!

This ain’t no chicken game. After nearly a decade running my own egg empire and mastering the art of keeping chickens, I’ve stuffed all my insider secrets into the aptly named “How to Raise Chickens for Eggs”.

I’m talking building a palace of a coop guaranteed to impress the neighbors, concocting feed for peak egg production, collecting eggs so perfect you’ll weep tears of joy – plus hilarious stories and accidental mishaps along the way.

So get cluckin’ and grab the key to creating your own morning egg paradise before I sell out!