about mangels as chicken feed seems to be a popular sport. I wish
I could find more reports on whether the birds actually eat
these huge fodder beets.
My experience with
feeding tough, raw vegetables to chickens is a bit spotty. If I
cut a winter squash in half and make sure it lands flesh side up, the
chickens do peck away at it, and they eventually seem to find thickly
sliced sweet potatoes as well. I’ve yet to see them eat carrots I
toss in the coop, though.
One option for making root
crops more enticing would be to cut up mangels, potatoes, and other
homegrown fodder vegetables, then toss them in a pot of water on top of
the wood stove when I damp it down for the night. Possibly they
would cook (rather than burn), and I’m positive our chickens would eat
any of these foods when softened by heat.
Another recommendation I
read involves grating mangels before feeding them to chickens.
Maybe if you have some kind of grain mill or large food processor, that
technique would work, but I know for a fact I wouldn’t manage to feed
many mangels if I grated them by hand. (I’m not so sure I’d even
get around to cooking them.)
A third option I ran across
consists of mounting a spike on the side of the chicken coop and
impaling tough vegetables on it. The sweet potato (or mangel) is
held off the ground, so it catches the flock’s eye and doesn’t roll
away as they peck at it. This method sounds right up my alley, so
I’m experimenting now with a sweet potato. I’ll let you know
whether the tasty root goes down my chickens’ gullets in a timely
water so you can focus on homegrown feed.