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best perennial chicken feed  RSS feed

 
Kevin Swanson
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Melba Corbett wrote:
Leah Sattler wrote:You could always raise turkeys too. They eat acorns and other nuts which are an excellent fend for yourself feed. I don't think chickens could choke down acorns though.


Leah,
I used to take those acorns and smash them with a hammer and the chickens loved them, but its just too darn labor intensive to be practical.

Melba


You could put them in a burlap bag and run them over with a vehicle...
 
Pamela Smith
Posts: 64
Location: BC Canada Zone 5&6
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bee food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar
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Did not realize this went on and on. Well too much for me to read after a couple pages so here is my input. If you are on facebook join this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/herbalpoultrycare/ Poultry Natural Living.

Susan Burek runs the page. She is a well known herbalist specializing in herbs and foods for chickens. She has lots of documents under files containing info from fermented feed, care, feed, herbs best for chickens and not so good.
She talks about the benefits and not so good about the various clovers. Dandelions are an amazing food for the chickens, us and many other farm animals. Chickweed, nettle, lamb's quarter to name a few more. As you see most are well known weeds. Either the chickens will eat them or you can use them in a tea for yourself and the birds. Anyway if you have access to FB and join the group you could ask her personally what she suggest to plant for the chickens.
 
Hans Quistorff
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paul wheaton wrote:Hmmmm ....  I wanna think that the chickens should figure out what is at the seed head and somehow knock it over.

Any experience with this?


I was given a big bard rock rooster and he would grab a wheat stalk and bend it down for the hens to pick the kernels off. lots of fun to watch.
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
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I have 2 white mulberry trees! Here in eastern Ontario they are quite rare. The fruit is delicious especially when you eat from the ground. The fruit of the morus Alba tastes like honey! Usually they are ready around the 21st of June. The chickens love the berries, so do the birds of the fields. The bees are crazy for this tree! The only problem I see with your idea of steady supply of feed for chickens is that the season here lasts for a week, if we are lucky. If it's really hot could be less.
I also harvest the leaves for my silkworms and for myself, my winter teas. Did you know that every part of the morus Alba and nigra is edible! I not only harvest the leaves but also the branches and twigs and roots for teas. This tree is a must have for humans, not just for chickens.
 
Bryan Beck
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Location: Western Oregon
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chicken forest garden trees
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tel jetson wrote:

there's a small tree called yellowhorn (Xanthocerus sorbifolia) that I bet chickens would go for.  makes pea-sized seeds that taste a little like macadamia nuts.  hardy to -10 Fahrenheit.



Anyone ever seen chickens eat yellowhorn seed?  Or, anyone have a yellowhorn tree/bush that might be willing to send some seed to me this fall so I can test it on my chooks?  This seems like a great option (and it's a nitrogen fixer) but I don't want to wait 3 years and then find the chooks won't eat it.
 
Pamela Smith
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Location: BC Canada Zone 5&6
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I love this idea of the yellowhorn but I can not find any actual nutritional info on it besides being 70-72% oil. A nut is usually high in protein but does anyone know anything about the seeds, calcium, protein etc?
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/BULK-Yellowhorn-shiny-leaf-goldenhorn-Chinese-Flowering-Chestnut-Seeds-X-Sorb-/280819397869?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368

Found this offering on ebay.  No experience with the seller, but it appeared to be the best pricing available.  Pricing appears to be highly variable.  I must say this looks to be a potential winner on multiple levels.  Beautiful in bloom, long lived (200 years) but fairly quick to produce (5 years).  I think I need to add this to my planting lists.
 
Bryan Beck
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Peter Ellis wrote:http://www.ebay.com/itm/BULK-Yellowhorn-shiny-leaf-goldenhorn-Chinese-Flowering-Chestnut-Seeds-X-Sorb-/280819397869?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368

Found this offering on ebay.  No experience with the seller, but it appeared to be the best pricing available.  Pricing appears to be highly variable.  I must say this looks to be a potential winner on multiple levels.  Beautiful in bloom, long lived (200 years) but fairly quick to produce (5 years).  I think I need to add this to my planting lists.


Thanks for the link.  Just ordered enough to try out with my chickens and have some leftover for planting if they seem to like them.
 
Hans Quistorff
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I also ordered the yellowhorn.  For now the millet I planted this spring is their favorite.
 
Davis Bonk
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Monocreature production doesn't seem very permanent to me.  I think a large animal to cause disturbance is essential.   Salatin has shown cows to be very good companions to chickens, but I'm not a big fan of anything that can kill me.  I have a pet pig I keep with our chickens.  It was too nice and I couldn't butcher it but I did butcher the rest. Turns out pigs get lonely and enjoy the companionship of chickens.  If your not after meat I would say a mini mule or mini donkey because they hate predators. Might as well have some meat goats if you have someone to protect them but they will browse things you may not want them to.  If wild deer and elk frequent the area it may help maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Chickens are descended from jungle fowl which is not very pasture or even Savannah oriented.  I would try prairie chickens or another type of grouse native to the U.S. It's too bad most of their habitat has been plowed up, and what hasn't has been taken over by the invasive Chinese ring necked pheasant.  I think if your gonna raise foreign birds at least use the diet of native birds to inform what flora should be encouraged.
 
Bryan Beck
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Bryan Beck wrote:
Peter Ellis wrote:http://www.ebay.com/itm/BULK-Yellowhorn-shiny-leaf-goldenhorn-Chinese-Flowering-Chestnut-Seeds-X-Sorb-/280819397869?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368

Found this offering on ebay.  No experience with the seller, but it appeared to be the best pricing available.  Pricing appears to be highly variable.  I must say this looks to be a potential winner on multiple levels.  Beautiful in bloom, long lived (200 years) but fairly quick to produce (5 years).  I think I need to add this to my planting lists.


Thanks for the link.  Just ordered enough to try out with my chickens and have some leftover for planting if they seem to like them.


Offered some yellowhorn seeds to my chooks over the weekend.  Unfortunately, they didn't go for them.  The seeds are about 1.5 times the diameter of a standard green pea - just a bit too big for my hens to swallow whole.  They pecked at them briefly but eventually gave up and moved on to more attractive fare.  I imagine if the seeds were soaked or sprouted they might work but unless I see something more promising come along I don't plan to plant these trees for chicken feed. 
 
Hans Quistorff
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I started feeding the millet to my chickens today. It is beginning to shatter from the heads so I put some in the feeding pan and once they began to get used to it then thy started to peck it from the heads.

Of the different seeds I planted this year I think the millet is going t prove to be the easiest to grow and feed. So I plan to plant a larger area and earlier next year.
 
Benjamin Dees
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Thanks to whomever mentioned giant ragweed.  I have a patch of the stuff near my garden and have been trying to figure out how to propagate it, because I think it would make a nice biomass alternative to miscanthus.  Now I'm guessing it has something to do with the chickens.   

My chickens don't like acorns.  I was surprised to see that mentioned.  Even if I crush the soaked ones and try to feed them manually, they refuse.

They do eat grass seeds, and LOVE mulberries (for the few weeks of the year there are any).  They seem to like duckweed, but it's not perennial here (zone 7) and I have to harvest it manually.  It would be perennial in a slightly warmer climate.

There are a lot of cockroaches in my compost, and around the chicken house.  Maybe they eat those.  It would be interesting to try to trap them as chicken feed.  More interesting would be a trap that the chickens can open at will, when they want a snack.
 
Jen Fan
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Too many replies to filter through but here's a few thoughts;

Sustainable pasture is going to require forage that is available in ALL seasons.  I've observed my birds' eating and foraging closely over the years.  In the winter, like pheasants, they spent more time browsing for seeds on shrubs, trees, and grasses.  For example, we have too much yellow dock here.  They eat the greens all year round, and no amount of them eating the leaves could kill these plants (that's what the goats are for ;) ).  They don't touch the seeds virtually at all during the warm months.  But all through winter and spring you'll see them pecking up the brown kernels, and the turkeys will reach for the seed clusters on the stalks and pull off beakfuls are a time.  Elm semaras are another seed they like, but it's a seasonal interest.  The first green pods to fall from the trees or be low enough to reach will be devoured.  I enjoy ripping off great fistfuls for the birds to peck up (and to go eat for breakfast! yum!).  The paper-dry kernels that fall are still desirable come summer and will eventually all disappear into the gizzards of the birds.
Think about foliage, think about blooms, think about seeds- also think about what bugs they may attract.  All of these are food sources.  Staggered harvests will keep your birds well fed nearly year round! 

And mulberries; poultry will not only fly into the trees to harvest the berries, but they will strip and eat leaves as well.  Ducks will even strip the bark for food!
Buttonweed is drought hardy and extremely prolific- birds will nibble it down with relish.
All edible greens; kale, chard, lettuc, prickly lettuce, miner's lettuce, shepherd's purse, lamb's quarter, dock, clover, alfalfa, etc etc etc will be devoured by the birds.  Not to mention most flowers and blooms!
Corn as a fodder crop; Birds will strip off leaves, even if the plant is mature.  It's still grass!  And my turkeys know how to bring down ears of corn and everyone joins in devouring them.v Plus corn provides bug habitat, shelter, and shade.
Sunflowers provide a unique combination of bug habitat, shade/shelter, nibble-worthy greens (they don't go to town on it too much though), and late-season seeding heads.  Save the heads for winter treats, or let them naturally drop seeds for the birds to glean.
Leaf litter in an area that won't get too buried in snow provides year-round bug habitat.

Get creative!  Diversity will win the day in the end.  There's very little a chicken or turkey won't eat.  Wish I could tell you the name of a weed that grows here that nothing but the goats will touch.  Looks remotely like lamb's quarter, only spikier, and thrives without water
 
Hans Quistorff
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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For example, we have too much yellow dock here.  They eat the greens all year round, and no amount of them eating the leaves could kill these plants (that's what the goats are for ;) ).  They don't touch the seeds virtually at all during the warm months.  But all through winter and spring you'll see them pecking up the brown kernels,

This is my experience also.  The dock roots are breaking upp the compacted clay. I can move the tractor over it and after cover it with a swath of grass and carpet so I can broad fork it later to plant.  I cut the seed heads on the patch they are working now and they have started eating the seeds.  I am cleaning out berry vines that have finished fruiting and they eat any shriveled berries left on the vines.
 
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