To harvest, simply cut the stems with scissors–cut either the tops or the base depending on how much you need and how much is available. For larger, leggy plants, you may want to use only the leaves. Be sure to remove any yellow or brown leaves.
In a temperate climate like our southern Appalachians, chickweed normally appears during the cooler temperatures of fall and dies back in the late spring or early summer heat, but it’s typically considered an early spring plant. It thrives between 53° and 68°F.
How beneficial is chickweed nutritionally? It’s hard to say. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been any official research conducted.
Chickweed is a common yard weed–it’s considered a pest by some so be sure not to gather it in areas that have been sprayed with pesticide.
Chickweed doesn’t do well refrigerated which probably explains the fact that it never made it as a commercial crop, even though it was a popular edible garden plant in the 1800s. It’s best eaten fresh so plan to use it within a day or so of cutting. Eat the stems, leaves, flowers, and seed pods.
We do know that chickweed was used traditionally as a restorative tonic for patients recuperating from serious illness. It’s presumably the plant’s nutrient content that provides healing support.
Chickweed is a not only a super plant in terms of its nutritional acclaim, but it’s also delicious. The flavor is often compared with corn silk. It’s pleasant and mild.
Its pointed oval-shaped leaves grow in pairs opposite each other, fairly far apart on the stem. Leaves can be anywhere from 1/4 to 1 1/4 inch long. Chickweed flowers are 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter and consist of five double-lobed white petals supported by a whorl of five green sepals. The flowers somewhat resemble carnation flowers–chickweed is actually a member of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae.
Chickweed is excellent raw–use it like sprouts; eat it in sandwiches, wraps, etc. And of course it’s a great base for salad.
Chickweed is a wild "weed" that is both edible and nutritious and has medicinal qualities. Learn where to find it, how to harvest, and how to prepare.
Bee Balm can be found in most gardens and is prized for its beautiful purple-pink flowers.
This lovely plant is well loved by chickens and while usually not considered a weed, it certainly grows like one!
If you’re growing any of these plants in your garden, be sure to put up a fence around it, or keep your chickens enclosed to their coop and run during the growing season.
This one is a huge favorite in our flock.
Chickens in the wild naturally eat plenty of fresh greens as well as minerals and insects they find in the soil and on plants. When you feed weeds to your backyard chickens, you’re giving them all of these great nutrients they desperately need to be happy and healthy.
Clover is often mistaken for Oxalis, but is a very different plant. Either way, it’s another one that chickens just can’t get enough of!
Take a sharp pause before you spray herbicide on your lawn this year! That dandelion is completely edible, for people and chickens alike. Pull dandelions out by their roots and toss them in the chicken coop to get rid of the ‘weed’ from your lawn and feed your chickens all at once!
The best benefit of feeding weeds to chickens is to give them a huge boost in health.
When free ranging your chickens, be aware that they’ll likely take tastes of absolutely everything on your property, whether it’s a weed you’d like to get rid of or not!
Feed your chickens for free with these tasty, nutrient-dense "weeds" that you'll find growing all over your garden.