chicken notes: azolla
- Tom of Uluwehi farm wrote
to say "Azolla, a fresh water seaweed has been used in India as sole
rationing for chickens."
CTAHR page on Azolla as Green Manure has good info on Azolla's
optimal growing conditions
- it actually does not like full sun. overcast skies or
partial shade are better
- says A. filiculoides is the species most commonly found
- from Biotechnology of Biofertilizers: "growth rate of Azolla is very
rapid so much so that it doubles its weight in a mere 2-3 days."
- It can assimilate atmospheric nitrogen owing to
a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (blue green algae) living in the
cavities located at the lower side of upper (dorsal) lobes of leaf.
- The plant is green when conditions are perfect, tending towards
yellow/orange/red when not perfect, e.g. water too warm, missing
nutrients, wrong pH, etc. So, the color can't be used to identify
the species, it is related only to how well the plant is growing.
- Sounds like a great plant to try growing and feeding to chickens.
- 08.05.03, got some Azolla from the Uluwehi farm, brought it home to
It looks somewhat different than the other Azolla species pictures on
- It looks closest to A. pinnata.
As a feed for chickens
Azolla: a sustainable feed for livestock, India
- describes in good
detail exactly how to grow and harvest Azolla in a shallow man-made body
of water. It says "Feeding azolla to poultry improves the
weight of broiler chickens and increases the egg production of layers."
The only input is some manure and phosphate.
Azolla (Azolla pinnata) as a Feed Ingredient in Broiler Ration,
International Journal of Poultry Science, 2002, Bangladesh
- Tested different amounts of 'Azolla meal' in the feed - 5%, 10%,
- At 5%, the broilers actually grew better than with conventional
feed. At 10% and 15%, results were about the same as with
conventional feed, a little less body weight. The giblets were
a little bigger and the abdominal fat was a little less.
- says Azolla's total protein is 25-30%.
Package of Practice for
Azolla has a lot of info including nutrition.
- "Dry Azolla flakes can be used as poultry feed and green Azolla
is also a good feed for fishes."
- There doesn't seem to be any research on how much azolla
you can feed to layers/broilers and still maintain health and
productivity. Would 50% or more be too much? Could the
nutrition profile be balanced with specific other feed inputs?
- 2008 blog entries
Azolla as chicken feed (May) and
Azolla update (July) describe our experiences.
- We have only a very small area of water to test with.
- The chicken do eat it fresh, although not enthusiastically.
- Any more serious effort would involve setting up a large water surface
area - troughs, or some kind of pond.
"There are approximately 70 species, subspecies, varieties,
forms, and cultivars in this genus."
|species / wikipedia link
||Native to the Americas. "Of commercial importance in
cultivation in Asia as a bio-fertilizer, valued for its
nitrogen-fixing ability, [..] harvested fronds are also used as
a food for fish and poultry."
|"for use as green manure"
"species most commonly found in Hawai`i"
||"often mixed in with duckweed."
|"a natural source of protein, as a main component in food
In one study of Azolla species, "gave highest biomass production
and relative growth rate."
||no pictures found online
||reportedly very large fronds
||"Azolla pinnata has been used for centuries in Southeast
Asia as a fertilizer in rice production."
Has a huge native range, all the way from Africa to Japan and Australia.