Kale Appreciation

At this time of year I am oh, so tired of kale. My dinosaur kale pushed up leaves in early spring, and has been producing ever since.



It no longer looks appetizing to me. But, the bugs say that it is perfectly edible.

kale holes


As a gardener, this time of year, I really appreciate having hens. Instead of feeling guilty for tossing vegetables into the compost pile, I have a ravenous flock that says that I’m the best farmer, ever.




Never mind that they don’t have good manners, and gulp down big pieces.

hen eating kale


And eat with their elbows on the table.

kale hens


They sure know how to say thank you.

flock eating kale

What are you pulling from the garden and feeding to your hens?


  1. Mine are getting lots of tomatoes right now. They are turning red but have rot on the bottom.

  2. A lot of my cherry tomatoes are splitting on the vine so every morning I toss a few into the pen. I love watching them play chase! I am sure my neighbors think I have lost my mind when they hear me rooting on the new chicks to get their share of the little red gems! :) I gave them eggplant leaves and they turned up their noses…..UNTIL they realized that was all I had at the moment. Greedy little things!

  3. Mine are getting pipinola (chayote). I pulled the vines down, as they were covering up my Orange tree, but there are plenty of the fruit left. I cut them in half and toss them over the fence. The hens will not open one of these, but once it’s cut they love the inside.

  4. we had about 9 watermelons this year…the one I picked the other day weighed at least 25 pounds! They are wonderful but do ripen late in the season! I think they are called blacktail watermelons. Very easy to grow with a fair bit of watering in the early stages of their growth. I didn’t water them once the fruit began to grow. Definitely worth a try and the girls LOVE them!

  5. Phoebe should love the kale too!! ;) My friend grows dinosaur kale and it never stops growing!!

  6. Lots of kale! I grown kale a few inches outside their run, so when the kale gets old enough that it can take some munching, some of the leaves push through the fence and they can help themselves. Chicken salad bar! They also love basil, which I toss them when I pinch it back to keep it from bolting. They like zucchini, but only if I cut it in half for them. If they have to peck through skin, they’re not interested. Spoiled girls.

      • Nope – they leave just the skins. None of my hens will touch pumpkins or winter squash either, even if I slice it open for them. They don’t like most of what they are supposed to like. My husband says they are either spoiled or stupid… I choose spoiled. :-) Oh, they do love rhubarb leaves, though. Yes, I know they are poisonous. I fence them off and they manage to find another way in to them. Tomato leaves too.

  7. WELL…let’s put it this way……there was nothing to feed to the people OR the hens…I bought those little watermelons at the store for them…$1.86/ea….I think they appreciated that…..

  8. Ours eat rotten tomatoes and overgrown zucchini. I normally throw it in the run with enough force so it cracks in half!
    the hens like it better that way.

  9. I give my goat boys, long Chinese noodle beans, tomatoes, swiss chard, and cucumbers. My geese only eat the seeds out of the cukes. The chickens and ducks love the tomatoes and cukes. There is nothing more enjoyable as feeding the goat boys, though! They will splatter tomato seeds and juice all over you, if you don’t back up quickly!
    They chomp the beans and chard, like they are living electric pencil sharpeners!

  10. Okra…In fact I’m just pulling it off and freezing it for them this winter as well.

  11. Oh, there’s always a few strawberries that the slugs got half of. The girls love those. I just toss them over the fence to them. Carrot tops are a favorite. Beet tops not so much but they’ll work on them. And a tomato here and there. An over grown cuk that I missed sliced in half is a HUGE treat with all those seeds down the middle. The only drawback w/ the cuks is that the hens leave squirtty poop bombs all over my patio when finished. All that liquid just shoots right through them.

  12. aww.w.w.w it makes me wish for a flock of red hens to care for again.
    if i had a hen this year, i’d feed her pulled-off-the-bottom brussell sprout leaves. you’re supposed to do that so the sprouts grow – for three years i’ve tried everything, but haven’t gotten one sprout yet. will keep trying
    and maybe i’ll get a hen – i do have a few fish this yeaar who knows?

  13. I do notice that the gardening goes better now that I have chickens. Plenty of scraps for them. Some of their abilities amaze me though: threw in a slice of watermelon during the hot days, and they picked it so far down I had just the outer skin left. It looked like a green piece of leather. Nothing gets by them.

  14. I grow kale and Swiss chard and mesclun and other stuff just for the animals. I get the good leaves, they get the rest. So they get all kinds of things. Lately it was oregano and marjoram that had exceeded their allotted 3′ areas but a factor of 3, and were flowering also.

  15. Ours are getting zucchini, summer squash, overgrown cucumbers, and partially cleaned corn cobs. I tried raising greens for them and they turn up their beaks. They are however free range birds and can get greens as much as they want. Only the guineas and ducks venture to the garden but they all have manners and don’t hurt anything but the bugs.

  16. I grew chard just for the chooks and they love it. I also grew radichio lettuce for the first time this year. They looked absolutely beautiful but when we tried one it was the most bitter thing we have ever tasted. It wasn’t just slightly bitter but totally horrible and inedible. I wonder if that’s why they look so perfect and untouched by any bugs. Now the chooks are getting them and they don’t seem to mind the taste at all. I only give it to them a few times a week though as I am afraid such a bitter taste may taint the eggs.

  17. Mine get all of the split cherry tomatoes that they want..and quite a few of the good ones. They also get any of the kale or chard that has any powdery mildew. I think they ate all four of the apples on my new Anna apple tree. The tree is only 3-4 feet tall so they didn’t have far to jump. I never saw the culprit but those apples disappeared one by one! Same thing happened to my first grape cluster. One day it was there slightly turning pink and the next day, nada. They also love figs. I’ve been trying to dry as many as I can but there are always a few out of reach that the ants get into.

    • ok! ich kann deutsch! Das ist so, weil ich meine Eltern geliebt habe! That`s because my parents were germans!

  18. Mine are gorging on figs – my tree is making so many they’re dropping all over the place before I can get to them.

  19. Beautiful dinosaur…….It is so sad that haven’t got chickens now, but still I like watching them somewhere else.
    Faithfully yours

  20. Love the pics! I don’t have a garden but I share with my girls some of the fresh kale, spinach, carrots, cucumbers and broccoli I buy for our daily salads. I buy extra with them in mind. Nothing goes to waste and they devour it :)

  21. Mine are eating wild blackberries from the wood and I’m picking elderberries for them. I had a box of curly Kale given last week and they loved the green but ignored the purple.

    They have also had a few chopped bananas that were too ripe for us……disappeared in seconds.

    Super photos Terry.