Monday, May 14, 2012

Wild Winter Chicken Feed

I almost forgot - there's one more unlikely wild food we've been harvesting lately: Dandelion seeds!

I have about a dozen family-size spaghetti sauce jars full of them. The kids think this is great fun!

So why, you ask, am I harvesting dandelion seeds?

I have this crazy plan to save all of this free seed, store it until snow falls, and then sprout it and feed it to my chickens as winter greens. For the last two winters, I've been sprouting purchased wheat berries for my hens; I realized finally that I could save that seed money and simply save what grows free as a nuisance in my yard!

Of course, before I saved jars and jars of the stuff I tested a little bit to see if it would sprout indoors  - it worked wonderfully!
Of course this wouldn't work on a large chicken operation; there's no mechanical way I know of to harvest dandelion fluff. And that's probably why it isn't recommended in all of the chicken farming books. But for our small-scale, pancake-powered child labor force, it's perfect!

This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop

Well, it sounded good anyway. When I went to sprout the seeds in the winter, I couldn't get them to germinate. Add to that the fact that half of the jars had gotten slightly moldy, and this experiment was a bust! Back to the drawing board . . .


  1. I love this!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing. We have a small flock, and I have a very dedicated dandelion picker who would love to help with this. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Blessings, Kelly

  2. I never knew you could feed sprouts to the chickens.

    1. Definitely! I like to think it gives them a little of what they would be getting on a spring pasture, even when I have to keep them cooped up in the winter.

  3. NO. Way! Please come link up at my new DIYLinky at, I have to send my kids out to do this.

  4. A good way the harvest the dandelion fluff would be with a leaf blower/vacuum in vac mode to do the harvesting quickly, then you would need to refrig or freeze the seeds