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The young leaves when boiled can hardly be distinguished from spring spinach, and are equally wholesome. They may also be used uncooked with young Dandelion leaves to form a salad.
The custom of giving Chickweed to birds is a very old one, for Gerard tells us:
'Little birds in cadges (especially Linnets) are refreshed with the lesser Chickweed when they loath their meat whereupon it was called of some "Passerina." '
Both wild and caged birds eat the seeds as well as the young tops and leaves. Pigs like Chickweed, and also rabbits; cows and horses will eat it; sheep are indifferent to it, but goats refuse to touch it.