do chickens like marigolds? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

hi. another chicken question (or two) here. i hear that chickens like marigolds. what are the advantages of feeding them flowers? any? i'm trying to plan out a good, steady, healthy diet for my chickens once i get them, but that will have to be postponed for a while as there is this huge avian flu outbreak on the east coast...


-- C (, April 09, 2002


plants everything, and let the chickens choose, ,they will eat all their favorites first,, you could tell that way

-- Stan (, April 09, 2002.

The only thing I've ever heard of concerning chickens and marigolds was the use of the marigold flower petal meal in laying rations to give a nice yellow color to the yolk without actually putting the birds on the ground to forage for themselves or feeding them greenfeed.

You can do a sight better than that by just feeding them *fresh* (as in NOT sour, moldy, or hot)lawn clippings. If you want to plant greens for them then kale, collards, cabbage, mustard, or just about any green leafy vegetable that grows well in your area will get the job done. I grow collards and kale for mine (and us too) for winter greens.


-- Alan (, April 09, 2002.

I heard it was for putting a yellow color in their fat so it looked better under grocery store lights.

-- Gayle in KY (, April 09, 2002.

I always laugh when I see that commecial for Perdue Chickens. They claim that they feed their chicks marigolds so that their skin will be yellow. For one thing, different breeds of chickens have different color skin. In the Murray McMurray catalog they point out that a certain breed has white skin, which supposedly makes a desireable chicken since plucking is easier.

Anyway, what really sets me laughing is that as teenagers we use to eat marigolds. Not a good thing to do since you got sicker than you got high ;~) This really bothers me, do the folks at Perdue support stoned chickens. Are marigolds just a gateway drug for these chickens? I know how many marigolds you have to eat to SEE colors but can anyone tell me how many you have to eat to TURN colors? And what happens when you take one of those yellow chickens and sprinkle nutmeg on them? Talk about drug interaction........

-- Diana in FL (, April 10, 2002.

I think that they are referring to calendula -- called Pot Marigold (i.e. the kind you put into the cooking pot) -- as opposed to African or French marigolds (Tagetes, the kind that you mostly see sold in nursery flats for decorative use). Calendula petals have been used for adding yellow color to rice and other dishes, as well as having the effect of making the yolks a darker yellow. Calendula infusions & ointments are also great for healing wounds.

I don't know that there is any reason Calendula shouldn't be fed to chickens, altho my ground-run chickens for tons of kitchen scraps, bugs, worms, yard weeds (dandelions, white clover, & chickweed) and some cracked corn, and the yolks were very dark yellow-orange on their own. Someone mentioned throwing alfalfa hay to the chickens a while back and I'd think that that would have a lot of benefits for them.

Calendula is a great thing to grow as a medicinal, but with the nutrition from the the likes of dandelions and chickweed, I'd save the calendula for wound care.

-- julie f. (, April 10, 2002.

Calendula is good for people salads, too. I dry the flowers and use in cooking.

Re. chickens, comfrey is supposed to be liked by them. I know for sure that they love swiss chard! What about growing more perennial food crops for them like these two, also grass and clover. Saves work.

-- seraphima (, April 11, 2002.

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