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Fat Hen aka Lambs Quarter

Fat Hen – Chenopodium Album

Aka Lambs Quarter, Wild Spinach, Pigweed & Goosefoot

As you can tell by the common names, this ‘weed’ loves to grow around animals, especially farmyards where you’ll usually find it. It always grew in my chickens run and even after them digging & scratching over the soil  constantly it would continue to pop up every time I moved them off the soil. The sees stay viable for 30-40 years. Feeding fat hen to your chickens will make their yolks yellower.

This is a very abundant & nutritious wild weed.

It’s apparently one of the most nutritious greens ever analysed. It’s rich in Vitamins B&C, iron, calcium, protein, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, fibre, Vitamin A. Wowsa!! Beats the supermarket veges anyday!

You can use the fresh leaves in salads, quiches, casseroules etc. I like to sautee leaves (recipe below).The seeds can be eaten raw or toasted and ground into flour. The seeds are also super nutritious.

The seeds of Fat Hen have been found in the Tollund bog bodies (perfectly preserved human bodies dug out of a peat bog in Denmark dating back to 5C BC). This shows fat hen’s use by humans for a very long time.

There’s studies supporting the use of fat hen for sugar imbalances and it’s also used as a tonic for digestion & internal parasites. It’s often used as a poultice for skin sores & burns.

It has laxative, anti bacterial & anti inflammatory properties.

Apparently Maori would cook & eat like spinach, then use the cooking water, drinking it 3-5 x a day for boils & blood ailments.

Fat Hen is one of the most widespread weeds in the world, so your likely to find this all along your travels. Fat Hen is closley related to Magnenta spreen, which has the pretty purple flourish and is just as nutritious.

Fat Hen does contain oxalates, like many foods, so if you suffer from gout or kidney stones, then do your own research on this. In general cooking and discarding the cooking water reduces oxalate content.


Fat Hen features in my Summer Foraging Guide, which can be downloaded under 'Foraging Guides'. Lots more detailed information, photos, comprehensive ID, nutritional + medicinal properties, how to prepare, recipes, folklore & history.

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