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Lucky Ducks (and Chickens)

January 12th, 2015

I plant a lot of zucchini in the garden each year with the goal of having lots of those giant zucchinis that no one else seems to want. For me, they are invaluable come January. You see my chickens LOVE them. If you let them get really big on the vine they become like winter squash and will store for quite a while. These were harvested four months ago.
I always save a bunch, usually 15-20 and the chickens/ducks/guineas/turkeys get them when winter storms roll in and they stay in the coop. A giant zucchini will keep the flock happily occupied for a day or two. I love knowing that they’re getting healthy vegetables in the middle of the winter.

Do you grow any food for any of your pets?

10 Comments to “Lucky Ducks (and Chickens)”
  1. Kim Shrader on January 12, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for this tip! I’ve recently moved to Maine from Colorado and there are more days here that the weather keeps the birds cooped up. Growing zucchini gives me great satisfaction- so much produce for so little effort. Now I have good reason to plant extra.

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  2. Melissa on January 12, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Are these good to eat? A friend gave me a zucchini this summer and I set it in the basement and just discovered it the other day. It is slightly orange like you pictures. Or is it no good for people but just animals?

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    • Susy on January 14, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      You could try it. The peel will be tough. Treat it like a winter squash instead of a summer one at this point.

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  3. Nebraska Dave on January 12, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Susy, what a great idea for all those over grown zucchinis that no one wants. I wonder if wild turkeys would be interested in those as well during the winter? I’ve never thought about some thing like that to feed the wild life during the winter months. I might just have to give it a try this next year. I’m still hoping this year will be a much more productive year than last year.

    Have a great lucky ducks chicken day.

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  4. sarah on January 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting… so how big are they?

    I do grow a lot for the animals but squash is the one thing that’s almost impossible to grow around here without pesticides, due to the squash vine borer. I’ve tried everything from BT to covers to soap to foil to being a squash surgeon and extracting the worms with xacto knives… no luck.

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  5. Kristen on January 12, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I was excited to try this with a couple of huge zucchini but my first one did not meet with success. The chickens mostly ignored it; although they have eaten zucchini in the summer. I thought about cooking up another one and trying that out. I got the idea from you of feeding them mashed potatoes and I cooked up some of my less desireable ones for them and they were quite happy to eat that! Thanks for your ideas on how to keep chickens happy. I’m looking forward to hearing the results from your post about indoor winter gardening for chickens. Thanks!

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  6. Karen on January 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for another great idea to feed our chickens. I have way too much zucchini in the freezer. I always think I am going to make bread etc. but never seem to get around to it. Now it will just make a great treat for the chickens this winter. I am also looking forward to reading
    about your indoor winter gardening for chickens. Thanks again for the great tip!

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  7. Lisa on January 13, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I too saved some huge zucchini to give to my chickens this winter. I only kept 3 and as an experiment I stored one in our garage, one in the basement, and one just sitting on my kitchen counter. They were all storing pretty well, but gave them all to the chickens during this last cold blast. I’m also trying to perfect a bread recipe. The chickens are happy to eat my mistakes.

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  8. Colleen on January 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    We don’t intentionally grow food for our chickens, but there is always plenty of extra in the garden to share. They love the fresh veggies.
    I like your idea of keeping some of the giant zucchinis for your chickens to eat during winter. How do you store them so they keep? I haven’t had great luck with keeping zucchini through winter.

    Reply to Colleen's comment

    • Susy on January 14, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Mine just sit in a corner of the dining room. You can treat them like winter squash, make sure they are very ripe before picking and let the skins harden for protection.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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