During the fall molt season, your chickens will benefit from additional protein in their diet to help them grow in nice new feathers for winter. Since many of you are vegetarians or otherwise don't feel comfortable feeding your chickens meat or fish scraps (although chickens are true omnivores and will eat all kinds of animal protein on their own including toads, lizards, snakes and bugs), I thought I would share a list of plants and herbs that are high in protein and will provide your flock the much-needed nutrient during their molt as a healthy alternative to meat protein.
Plant-Based Sources of Protein
Mung Bean Sprouts
Oats (raw or cooked)
Pumpkin Seeds (unsalted)
Spirulina is a whooping 60% protein, making it a protein powerhouse. Quinoa is also jam-packed with 24 grams of protein per cup. Cauliflower also provides omega-3s and niacin, and niacin, which helps with bone growth, can be found in broccoli and oats also. Pumpkin seeds work as a natural wormer and contain 9 grams of protein per ounce. Spinach contains Vitamin A (for the immune system) and Vitamin K (helps blood clotting and bone growth) as well as protein. All these foods make for healthy treats year round for your flock, but are most beneficial in the fall.
Herbal Sources of Protein
These twelve herbs are high in protein, so adding them fresh or dried to your chickens' diet is beneficial during the molt. In addition, the herbs and others provide lots of other health benefits, so why not incorporate herbs into your flock's diet year round? [Read HERE for a more complete list of some of the more popular herbs and their health benefits.]
Grains such as wheat and barley as well as grasses also contain protein, so a free ranging flock will find sources of natural plant protein quite readily.
Read more about what a molt is and why it happens, as well as get my recipe for 'molt meatloaf' for your meat-loving flocks HERE.
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