garden cleanup-what's safe to feed animals? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi, Well with fall coming fast, I am out in the garden doing some garden cleanup today, picking peas and onions and peppers and anything else that looks ready. My question is what is safe to pull and give to my animals? I am picking field peas today and some of the vines won't be producing anymore, can I feed them up to the donkey, horses or goats? We have corn stalks which I plan to feed out to the horses, but other stuff like pepper plants, tomatoes, I just don't know about. Can chickens eat those? I don't think they would be good for the other stock. Also, cantaloupe vines have about quit, but are still green enough for feeding, are they safe? I know this is a lot of stuff to ask so early in the day, but I would rather compost than hurt anything, so until I hear back from you guys, I'll just pile up the stuff I'm pulling up. Hope all have a blessed day today, Cindy

-- Cindy (, September 23, 2001


It seems to me that our chickens will eat anything that doesn't try to eat them first! They will clean up any scraps we give them - they're not picky. They will eat plants, veggies, fruit, grains and meat. It's sort of a sport around our place. We through our dinner scraps out in the back yard and see who gets them first, our barn cats, our dogs, or our free-range chickens! It's a free for all! Sorry, I don't know anything about donkeys, horses or goats, but chickens will clean up just about anything.

-- Cheryl in KS (, September 23, 2001.

I feed all the garden scraps to the horses. They eat tomatos, bean plants, big cukes and zuccs, almost everthing I send over the fence. The dogs eat the old big green beans. I have not tried pepper plants. I just try to avoid giving the horses too much of anything at once so they don't colic. Anything they don't eat, just decomposes into the soil quickly since they eat almost everthing.

-- Joan (, September 23, 2001.

Tomatoes, peppers and potatoes are all relatives of nightshade, and their leaves and stems are poisonous: better to compost them. I'd either compost the melon vines, or leave the decision to the goats and donkey (keep the horse out of it) - some of them (at least the wild ones) can contain an alkaloid which is both poisonous and bitter - if it's there, it should be too bitter for them to want to eat it, but I'd space it out over some days anyway. Bean trash and pea straw are high-class legume feed - like clover or alfalfa.

-- Don Armstrong (, September 24, 2001.

I've tossed virtually everything I've ever grown in the garden over the pasture fence at one time or another. I've never seen a cow or goat eat a tomato, eggplant or pepper plant but they do eat the fruit sometimes except for peppers. Any pea or bean is good feed, squash vines are usually too spiney though they will clean up melon vines and in fact it's common practice for the commercial guys to turn cattle into played out melon fields at the end of the season. Seems like everything likes greens and cabbages of all sorts.


-- Live Oak (, September 24, 2001.

My goats stood out and watched me put in their pumpkins for this fall, they love to eat them. The only thing I know that they shouldn't have is tomato, pepper, and potato vines. I know dogs shouldn't have onions either.

-- Leslie in Western WA (, September 24, 2001.

Go the lazy route...turn the chickens into the garden! They'll clean up the scraps and till them in. I usually spread my compost on the garden in the fall and let the chickens till it in then so anything that hasn't broken down already will do so by spring. I had the unique experience of getting blanched tomatoes this year. The worm castings are so thick in my garden that the tomatoes grew right down into the soil and ripened white (like blanched celery). The only thing I do to encourage the worms is turn the chickens into the garden in the fall.

-- Sheryl in Me (, September 25, 2001.

Thanks to everyone who answered - garden cleanup won't be finished here until mid October, but the animals are sure happy with what they are getting out of it! Especially the chickens! They eat just about anything (except hard okra pods). Hope all of you had a good gardening year, I sure had a better one this year than last. But you know what, even though it's tiring to till, plant, weed, harvest, can and freeze, I can't wait for next year! Cindy

-- Cindy (, September 27, 2001.


Split those hard okra pods open so the hens can get at the seeds. My birds love okra seeds and will eat all that they can get and they have a pretty fair protein content.


-- Live Oak (, September 27, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ