What a Chicken Won’t Eat

January 19, 2009 | By | Comments (9)

I was fooling around with edible flowers in the Sunset test kitchen the other day, figuring out a recipe for an upcoming story, and had piles of pretty baby roses left over.

Why not feed them to our chickens? We give them all kinds of tempting test-kitchen food scraps to make their eggs more luscious. Roses would make a very exciting hen breakfast. Or maybe they’d even make the eggs fragrant!

The chickens did their usual NBA impressions, leaping up to see what I had in the feed bowl. I scattered the blossoms on the coop floor and waited.


As you can see, the roses were a complete dud. I’ve never seen our chickens turn their beaks up at anything before.


Wow, even their backs. Clearly these roses needed a few worms or aphids to make them worth trying.


  1. Charlotte Laws

    My chicken just ate a bunch of Iceberg rose petals. She seems to like them.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm
  2. leanne

    I notice you’ve replaced the straw on the coop floor with bark nuggets. How does that work out with cleaning? Do you add more bark? Rake up the dirty stuff and replace it?

    July 1, 2009 at 9:36 pm
  3. Margo True

    Great tip, Laura. We’ll keep it in mind. They’d gorge themselves silly under our olive trees–the ground beneath is carpeted with maggoty olives!

    February 12, 2009 at 3:47 am
  4. Laura Doty

    If you give young chickens certain weeds/flowers/insects as a “treat” before they’re let out to roam they will search for that “treat” when they’re let out later. It works!

    February 11, 2009 at 8:48 pm
  5. Margo True

    Hi, Tina! It’s true–chickens sure are handy when it comes to disposing of pests. They’ll even eat our maggot-infested olives, which is the only silver lining in Team Olive’s ongoing project to banish the bugs and harvest from our trees. At least we have plump, happy, maggot-gulping chickens.

    January 22, 2009 at 3:53 am
  6. Tina K – friend of Nugget

    My neighbor gave me several cans of wingless grasshoppers she bought for her turtles. The turtles turned up their noses, but boy, the chickens go crazy for the grasshoppers! They do look pretty creepy though.

    January 21, 2009 at 9:15 pm
  7. Margo True

    It really was surprising. Jen, you’re reminding me to post about the OTHER stuff chickens won’t eat–or rather, will eat but shouldn’t, for one reason or another.

    January 20, 2009 at 11:21 pm
  8. Sheila Schmitz

    They certainly know how to make a statement.

    January 19, 2009 at 11:43 pm
  9. jengod

    LOVE this post. Always hear that chickens will eat anything so it’s very very interesting to hear about the exceptions to the rule!

    January 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm

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