I am starting to plan for a small (1-3 acre) u-pick poly fruit orchard. I would like to run poultry through with e-fencing. I am less interested in maximizing the number of appletrees per se than I am trying to bring about a healthy diverse system. I have little experience growing mulberries, only eating the wild ones around me in zone 4b.
I plan on planting some for the birds in the very least. I have read and heard in many places that mulberries make great animal fodder and that historically it was hay before there was hay, so to speak.
My question is, does any one here feed their poultry mulberry leaves (I know they eat berries, but its the leaves that I want to know about as well)?
I am considering the idea of mulberries planted in row with fruit trees, wherein, the mulberries periodically get pruned ahead of grazing periods. My idea is to prune them regularly so they remain as a large bush and the small branches overhanging into the mow aisles becomes fodder. Poultry (and sheep I am presume) would eat the chopped greens in the mow aisles. The re-growth rate on those trees is so great that it seems like an excellent
supplement to their diet if they eat it. I have read that ducks will eat just about anything green.
Anyone have experience with this kind of alley cropping w/ silvopasture for small animals?
My chickens love mulberry (morus alba) leaves in the summer when the grass is dead. They'll fly up and eat any they can reach. When they have other green things to eat, they're less excited and will wait for the leaves to rot on the ground and attract tasty bugs instead.
Mulberries can definitely stand up to heavy coppicing. Seems like an excellent choice for silvopasture. The cultivars with really long fruit (pakistan) or long summer bearing (Illinois everbearing) would be great in a u-pick setting if you can grow them in zone 4.
I feed my rabbits pruned branches from my mulberry trees. They love the leaves and the bark, and the wood is good for gnawing their teeth down.
My chickens are free ranged, so they have continual access to all the mulberry trees (there are too many to count). While they definitely eat the berries (and poop purple, and lay stained eggs, lol) I have never seen them eat the leaves. The trees with the lowest branches are well within reach of a standing chicken (no need to fly up). This may be because there is simply other stuff they find more attractive, like the bugs and worms.
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