Like a number of the fodder plants I am discussing in this series, chicory is considered a “weed” in many parts of the country. You’ll see its lance shaped leaves growing in rosettes in late spring and it sends up stiff stalks covered with lovely blue blooms for the rest of the growing season. This short lived perennial readily reseeds itself and pretty much grows without any care or participation on your part….always a bonus in my book.
While chicory doesn’t have the protein content (just over 8%) to make it a stand alone fodder, it does have a high sugar content. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Chicory tolerates being cut multiple times due to it’s large fleshy root and will re-sprout readily. Cutting keeps the stalks palatable as older stalks become very fibrous. The root can also be fed to livestock with similar benefits as the stalks, although many animals do not find them particularly palatable.
Still, for ease of care, chicory is well worth the minimal effort of gathering it as a supplement to other, higher protein feeds.