Bamboo Leaves as Chicken Feed and Fodder
I have seen that animals immediately enjoy eating bamboo
Cows Love Bamboo Youtube Video Mathew Lindsay was kind to send me this analysis by the
North Carolina Agriculture Service in 2011. Below find the report that Edmund Brown sent me of his
Phyllostachys bissetti done by the Forage Testing Laboratory in Ithaca New York in 2014. Edmond Brown has cows
on Cairncrest Farm in West Winfield New York which is USDA Zone 5.
Observations from feeding goats
Mathew Lindsay sent me this email in January, 2012
Hope you are doing well. I wanted to check in and see if you have any more information (or a link to) on
the bamboo feed trial you mentioned a while back. It is anecdotal, but I have been feeding my 8 goats and
sheep a load of yellow groove bamboo (4x8x2 trailer heaped with 30+ culms almost every week this winter.
They also have access to decent hay and winter pasture. They usually clean the bamboo up in 2-3 days. I
have a doe (goat) that I have always had trouble keeping weight on; however, she seems to be doing better
this winter (albeit a warm one) than ever before.
Best RegardsMatthew Lindsay
ANIMALS ENJOYING BAMBOO
Goats on the farm
Goats love bamboo. They eat the leaves and small twigs. Once the new shoots are up, it is possible to let the goats
into the grove to eat weeds and remove low branches. They must be removed at least two months before shooting
season so there is no disease bacteria on the shoots that you harvest. Do not let them back into the grove until
the new culms are strong.
Goats at the Research Station
These goats are at USDA ARS station in Booneville ,Arkansas. They are part of ongoing research on small ruminants.
Giving bamboo to herbivores as feed and browse a relief from boredom. Garold Nelson tied a pole each day to his
fence or to a "manger" so that his cattle could pull the leaves off the twigs. It was nutritious and entertaining
for the cattle. In this photo there are only branches that were Fed Ex'd to the Station.
Llamas at Buck Creek Farm in Georgia
The llamas liked both the Phyllostachys and the Semiarundinaria fastuosa, but preferred the fastuosa.
Miniature Horse at Buck Creek Farm
The miniature horses liked standing in the branches of the Phyllostachys to scratch their bellies.
An elephant at the Seattle Zoo in Washington State
I owned Bamboo Gardens of Washington from 1986 until 1995. We often cut poles and needed to dispose of the leafy
tops. We were able to unload our truck at the Zoo Commissary. The keepers then gave bamboo to elephants, primates
and other animals. One time we were able to take photographs of the elephants enjoying eating and playing with the
When the heifers get loose...
Georgia Bamboo's Bonaire location is adjacent to a farm that raises holstein heifers. When they get loose, they
love to graze on bamboo. They were too shy for me to catch a photograph of them munching. They walked away.
Chickens and a bamboo farm go together
Dain Sansome in Albany, Oregon, uses chickens to weed his bamboo groves. The chickens remain in one spot until all
weeds and bamboo grass are eaten. Then Dain relocates his chickens to fresh pasture. The chickens aerate the duff
(mulch). Their droppings fertilize the bamboo. Dain does not need to weed. He sells the eggs and meat.
Feb 25, 2012 Dain Sansome answered
"Have a question. . .will
chickens eat bamboo shoots when they come up? I am trying to decide where to
move my black bamboo so it is close enough to the house to enjoy but still far
enough away to have the mowing area or something else that will "stop" it
before it gets 'loose'."
Yes they do eat shoots.
Happily. Leaves too. I would recommend planting the bamboo about 10-20ft
from your house to really enjoy it. Run your chickens into it during the
year except when it's actively shooting. Fence it off otherwise. The
chickens will jump up into it to roost. Don't have banties. Bad idea.
Dain Sansome, Albany,
Sheep at WSU in Washington State
Washington State University has ongoing research on organic farming. Part of the summer rotation is to pasture
sheep on the cover crop. Bambuseros from the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the American Bamboo Society had July work
parties at the adjacent bamboo research groves. When we finished thinning the groves we carried a little bamboo to
the sheep. They always came running to eat our bamboo leaves.