On Saturday Paul brought over a box of dandelions. He’d been weeding and he knew our chickens LOVE dandelions. He and I fed them a few handfuls and I carried the box away for ongoing treats.
On Sunday, Chris and Deb came over for Easter lunch and to meet our hens. Deb brought chocolate eggs for the occasion but the chooks didn’t offer any of their own Easter eggs in return – I’m hoping they’ll make up for the omission in a couple of weeks when they’re finally old enough to lay.
Chris (above) and Deb took turns (with me and Frank doing our bit) feeding the girls their treats. Apparently day-old dandelions are just as tasty as fresh ones.
It’s now Monday and the dandelion box has been emptied. Frank and I spent a bit of time hand feeding the girls (they devour each leaf when you hold it so they can rip chunks off it but struggle to actually eat when the leaves lie loose on the ground). Then Frank grabbed Rosie and I caught Isabel (Bronwyn is very fast when she senses you might try to touch her). We each held our chook and got her to eat a couple of leaves before releasing her in a ruffle of indignation. Actually, Rosie clucked at first but when Frank let go she perched on his knee for a while before departing on her own terms.
We dumped the last of the dandelion leaves (mixed in with a bunch of Eucalypt leaves which clearly taste nasty) in their enclosure to keep them entertained for the rest of the day. They’ll scratch and nibble but, unless we go back down and pick up the dandelions to hand feed the chooks, they won’t eat much.
I now look at dandelions in a new light. Where I saw weeds that needed to be pulled up, roots and all, and disposed of in the council bin, far away from my compost. Now I look at them and wish them well so I can grab the leaves on my way down to the chicken coop. One (wo)man’s weed is another’s tasty snack.