Can Chickens Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets

Can Chickens Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets



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I remember the time my ol’ buddy Hank dared me to eat some horse alfalfa pellets, saying they were ‘nature’s cereal.’

So there I was, in front of my cackling hens, chewing on what tasted like the lovechild of cardboard and grass clippings.

Spoiler alert: It was no Lucky Charms. But hey, it made me wonder, if I can survive this crunchy ordeal, can my feathered friends do the same?

Turns out, chickens can indeed peck away at horse alfalfa pellets.

And they’d probably enjoy it a heck of a lot more than I did!

But before you start shoveling pellets into your chicken coop like there’s no tomorrow, stick around.

We’re about to deep-dive into the do’s and don’ts of alfalfa for your beaked buddies. Ain’t that the kinda cliffhanger that keeps you on the edge of your roost?

Chickens Go Crazy for Horse Alfalfa

Can Chickens Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets

Well let me tell you, I never seen chickens go at something so crazy-like!

They were pecking and scratching up those alfalfa pellets faster than flies on horse apples.

Now I didn’t know if they could eat that stuff safely, but they sure seemed to love it.

Those darn chickens swarmed those pellets like seagulls at the beach eyeing someone’s picnic lunch.

It was like a feathery feeding frenzy – wings flapping, beaks pecking, feathers flying everywhere.

My hens were usually so polite at mealtime, gently pecking their feed.

But when they saw those alfalfa pellets they turned savage, scratching and scrambling over each other to gobble them up.

Cluckzilla and her sister Hen Solo were the first to reach the pellets.

They gave an almighty flap of their wings to push the other hens back so they could get first dibs.

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Then the rest of the flock joined the scrum, jostling each other with their wings and shoulders to muscle their way in.

It was a full-on chicken skirmish for the sweet, sweet horse food!

So after about an hour of chickens running wild in the barn, I finally got them back in the coop and started looking into this horse food situation.

And you’ll never believe what I learned!

Yes, Chickens Can Safely Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets

Can Chickens Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets

Turns out chickens can absolutely eat horse alfalfa pellets, and it’s actually good for them!

Alfalfa is high in protein, calcium, and vitamins – all things those egg-laying gals need.

Some key benefits:

Alfalfa pellets provide a power-packed protein punch, which fuels my chickens and promotes healthy egg production.

The pellets are loaded with calcium to help form strong eggshells so I get perfectly intact eggs, not cracked or thin-shelled ones.

Alfalfa contains lots of vitamin A for growth and development, vitamin E for immunity boosting, and vitamin K for blood health.

The carotenoids like beta-carotene in alfalfa even give the egg yolks that nice rich, orange color I love.

With all those nutrients, it’s no wonder my chickens went bonkers for the alfalfa.

They’ve got an innate sense of what their bodies need nutrition-wise.

When they saw those pellets packed with protein and calcium, it triggered their natural foraging instincts big time.

So not only is alfalfa safe for chickens, it’s downright nutritious for the cluckers.

No wonder they went so crazy over the stuff!

Feed Alfalfa Pellets in Moderation

Can Chickens Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets

Now just because chickens can eat alfalfa doesn’t mean you should only feed them that.

Alfalfa should be fed in moderation, along with their regular feed and treats.

Here are some tips:

I like to give my chickens a handful of alfalfa pellets as a supplemental treat once or twice a week.

It’s like a little protein boost on top of their regular diet.

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I also mix a tablespoon or two of alfalfa pellets right into their feed for extra nutrition.

Adding just a bit jazzes up their usual grub so they don’t get bored.

In their coop, I keep a small container of pellets available for free-choice nibbling throughout the day.

But I only put a little out at a time so they don’t overindulge.

Variety is key – I never want to feed alfalfa exclusively or it could throw off the nutritional balance.

The keys are variety and moderation.

I don’t want my girls to get bored of the same old chicken feed day after day.

And I definitely don’t want them overdosing on the horse grub!

Add Alfalfa for Picky Eaters

Can Chickens Eat Horse Alfalfa Pellets

Got some persnickety chickens who turn up their beaks at their feed?

Try sprinkling on some alfalfa pellets to entice them to eat.

The smell and flavor will pique their interest and appetite.

When my hen Henrietta goes through her moody phase and gets picky, a dash of alfalfa never fails to get her pecking again.

She goes bonkers for the sweet, earthy scent and can’t resist gobbling it up.

The added texture from the pellets also stimulates chomping for finicky birds.

So if you’ve got some willful chickens refusing their grub, alfalfa is a surefire way to get them back on track.

Just a tablespoon mixed into their feed bowl does the trick for my gals!

Grow Your Own Alfalfa for Chickens

If your chickens love alfalfa, consider growing some just for them!

It’s easy to grow in a small corner of your yard or garden.

Alfalfa grows quickly from seed and reaches maturity in about 2-4 months.

The root system also enhances soil by pulling up nutrients from deep down.

Clip alfalfa regularly once it’s about a foot tall.

Hang bundles to dry for 1-2 weeks before feeding to your flock.

Or let your chickens graze directly on fresh alfalfa clippings.

Having a fresh crop of their favorite green treat keeps chickens happy.

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Plus it saves money compared to buying alfalfa.

Dangers of Moldy Alfalfa

Fresh, dry alfalfa is fine but moldy alfalfa can be dangerous.

If feed gets moist, mold can quickly grow.

It looks like white, blue, or gray fuzz or cottony tufts.

Moldy feed contains harmful mycotoxins that can make chickens very sick.

Symptoms include lethargy, poor laying, and respiratory issues.

In severe cases, it can even be fatal.

So always check alfalfa for signs of mold and toss any that looks suspect.

Store feed in sealed bins to prevent moisture buildup.

Find Alfalfa at Feed Stores

Look for alfalfa pellets at your local farm supply or feed store.

It’s often sold in 20-50 pound bags for affordability.

High quality pellets will be green, not brown.

They should also smell fresh, not musty.

Pellet size ranges from 1/4 inch for chicks to 1 inch for adult chickens.

I prefer 1/2 inch pellets as a happy medium my flock enjoys.

Organic alfalfa costs a bit more but is worth it in my book.

Ask a store expert for recommendations if unsure which to pick.

Dried vs Fresh Alfalfa for Chickens

You can feed chickens both dried and fresh alfalfa.

Dried alfalfa, like pellets, is more concentrated and convenient.

It stores easily and provides balanced nutrition.

Fresh alfalfa is also great for chickens to graze on clippings.

It provides moisture along with vitamins and minerals.

Chickens enjoy the variety of fresh greens to supplement their diet.

I offer both dried pellets and fresh alfalfa from my garden.

This gives my flock the best of both worlds!

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