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Hen on Lawnmower

Do or Don’t: Feeding Your Hen Grass Cuttings

Please note that at this time, Avian Influenza is still present in the UK. We advise hen-keepers to avoid giving hens grass snippings that are near any decomposing leaves or bird droppings. Always make sure you are proving your hens with fresh, clean grass snippings.

Hens love grass, right? They love to scratch around in it, they love to sunbathe near it and they love to pick and chomp at it whenever they can. But the question still stands, “Can I feed my chickens grass?” Mowings, no. Freshly snipped, clean grassing cuttings, yes! And here are the reasons why…

Giving your hens the odd handful of freshly snipped grass that you’ve cut yourself that morning is a lovely treat for your hens, and quite recently has proved very good for their welfare and overall health.

This being said, you must be careful how much you are giving them and where you are getting it from. Small handfuls of grass no longer than a couple of inches are safe and healthy enough for your hens, however, anything longer than that is likely to cause problems, making them ill and in extreme cases causing death. Our Hen Helpline has received several calls recently for exactly this reason.

Can I feed my hens mowed grass?

3 hens eating grass Phil Brown hens Lucky Limpet and Large 1

Because of their insistence on ‘helping’ we know some hen keepers restrict access allowing grass to be fed, watered and mown to perfection but in turn leaving the temptation to tip rich grass clippings into the run for your hens to enjoy. After all what could be more natural?

It’s in actual fact a big don’t.

In short, hens naturally crop a small piece of each grass blade at a time, however, when you mow grass you are already beginning the breaking down process in the grass which can quickly cause your hen to get diarrhoea and crop impaction. You also have no way of controlling how long the clumps of grass are or how much they gorge on leading to all sorts of nasty problems for them.

So, if you want to treat your hens, allow only a very small handful of grass clippings to your flock. This allows them to dry out thoroughly so you can scatter them in the run so they are shared evenly.

Finally, it goes without saying that you should never use grass clippings if you have treated your grass with herbicides, pesticides or lawn feed.

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