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Growing barley- or not, as it is in my case

 
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Last year I planted an area with winter barley. It was fenced around and I thought that would help protect it from the pigs/chickens/other livestock/poultry

It didn't. The wild birds descended on the area. I'd raked the seed into the dirt but they had no problem digging it up.

I did notice this spring that some of the seed did take and I had some nice stalks of barley. Not nearly enough, a dozen stalks out of all the seed I threw down. Depressing.

I left the stalks to mature and dry. I shouldn't have. The birds ate the seeds right out of the stalks.

So pretty much no barley made it. I have a lot more seed that I can plant but..how to protect it this time? Bird netting I suppose.

We have SO MANY birds on our property. My kids comment on this sometimes. We'll be at a lake or in a forest and they'll comment on how quiet it is. How there are birds about but the area isn't nearly as loud as our own acreage. It's true. I don't know what it is but we have birds. Droves of them and they are LOUD morning, noon and night.

I suppose a permaculture blessing and proof I'm doing good work but boy oh boy we might have every bird in the county living on our property. lol
 
pioneer
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elle sagenev wrote:

We have SO MANY birds on our property. My kids comment on this sometimes. We'll be at a lake or in a forest and they'll comment on how quiet it is. How there are birds about but the area isn't nearly as loud as our own acreage. It's true. I don't know what it is but we have birds.



Because you keep feeding them :)

I think you're right about using bird netting.
 
pollinator
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Most of my grain got eaten this year, too. I got enough barley to seed a small bed next year and a few plants each of wheat and oats.

We have lots of birds too, but it seems to be the robins that are the main culprits where I am. My rye always grows because it gets planted when the robins aren't around. I planted my other grains later than I wanted to this spring. I think if I can get the timing right, I won't need any bird protection. (Rodents are another story.) Maybe there's a perfect time of year where you live, too.
 
steward
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Could scarecrows that are only out for planting and harvesting time work?  Plus maybe harvesting a bit early and letting them stand in shocks or collecting in a barn so they're easier to protect as they finish drying?
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1975
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Jan White wrote:Most of my grain got eaten this year, too. I got enough barley to seed a small bed next year and a few plants each of wheat and oats.

We have lots of birds too, but it seems to be the robins that are the main culprits where I am. My rye always grows because it gets planted when the robins aren't around. I planted my other grains later than I wanted to this spring. I think if I can get the timing right, I won't need any bird protection. (Rodents are another story.) Maybe there's a perfect time of year where you live, too.



Maybe I could mulch over the top of it. How deep do you think the mulch would need to be?
 
elle sagenev
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Mike Jay wrote:Could scarecrows that are only out for planting and harvesting time work?  Plus maybe harvesting a bit early and letting them stand in shocks or collecting in a barn so they're easier to protect as they finish drying?



There are just as many birds in our barn. lol
 
Jan White
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elle sagenev wrote:

Maybe I could mulch over the top of it. How deep do you think the mulch would need to be?



I had light mulch over mine - a couple centimeters at most. the robins just kicked that around to get what they wanted.  So...deeper than that ;p

Do you know what type of bird is going for the seed? There were lots of birds in the garden, but when I started actually paying attention I realized it was really just one type eating the grain. The other birds seemed to be there for the flax and poppy seed more than anything.
 
pollinator
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I've never revisited the issue, but was startled by a similar occurrence in our garden.  I had planted some regular old hard red spring wheat,......just a small batch to see how it would do and how much yield I would get from the plot.  It was reasoned that I would be safe from birds eating it cuz.....well....there's only THOUSANDS of acres of hard red spring wheat planted all around our property and wouldn't the lovely tweeties like THAT wheat instead of mine!  :-(   They had other plans and destroyed my small plot.  Can't figure that one out, except that they could get their grain -and- insect -and- Juneberry fix in one fast-food stop in the garden instead of the large wheat field next door.  It is quite defeating when thinking of having a good grain store for the winter....
 
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