Within the midst of fall, the vegetation around our mini-farm makes its last burst of growth before winter comes on. Our comfrey is no exception. As I posted before, I love comfrey, and no homestead should be without it especially if you have farm animals.
Comfrey has been used as a folk remedy for thousands of years and is a great source of homegrown food for animals. It’s high in vitamin A and C and is the only land plant known to derive and store vitamin B-12 from the soil. A high-yield plant, especially in the spring and fall, comfrey is 22% to 33% protein compared to alfalfa’s 12% to 19%. Further, acre-for-acre, comfrey is better than soybeans as a protein yield source. It is also low in fiber and rich in minerals as provided by its deep root system. All these traits make it a great food source for your farm animals.
I’ve feed comfrey to the chickens and have fed it to goats when we had them. The chickens like it best when they don’t have any other sources of greens available due to comfrey’s “hairy” texture. The goats really liked it, but the pig is the big winner when it comes to comfrey. Pigs really love the stuff. Below is a short video I took this weekend of our feeder pig going after the fall comfrey. The chickens even got into the act at the end.
You can use either fresh leaves or dried and crumbled leaves. The ration for chickens is 1 to 3 oz. per bird per day, yet free choice is best. Adult pigs can do well on 17 – 19 pounds of fresh leaves per day although I work-in smaller amounts in my pig’s weekly food ration. A good source of information on this subject is “Comfrey, Fodder, Food & Remedy” by Lawrence D. Hills, 1976. (Reference information was also obtained from Coe’s Comfrey website.)
Give comfrey a try for your animals and let me know how it goes. Do you have any stories of how you have used comfrey for your animals?