Hey everyone! I've been reading this website lately and I appreciate the knowledge that gets shared here. I'm new to permaculture and this community has been a great resource. So my question is: what can I grow in urban Phoenix Arizona that would be good forage for chickens. I've already looked into Black Soldier fly and plan on doing that as as well. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Location: Cottesloe Sands, Perth, Western Australia
posted 5 years ago
The question I have for you, is are you talking urban or rural? I'm in Perth, Australia but I think we have similar desert climate. What is your soil like, ours is very alkaline sand. I'm very urban, so have little space for dedicated chook fodder, but generally speaking, whatever is good for you, is good for them too. Hence, I'm starting up paddock shift. The chicken will be moving in to each (irrigated) paddock after we've finished growing veggies in an area. Apart from standard annual veggies we are introducing weeds, for us, them and the soil too. English dandelion, thistles, plantains (plantago) are all edible and survive here with varying degrees of shelter and supplementary water.
If I were you I'd look well into your own natives/local plants, but as a thought starter, this is some of what we're using right now...
Wormwood - good for chicken to self medicate, will survive with little water
Tansy - brushing against it reduces flea/mite problems.
Azola - nitrogen fixing pond plant.
Tagasaste/Acacias/Leucaena - all nitrogen fixing trees, I'm not yet sure if the chicken will go for the leaves, but they will the seeds.
Sunflowers (pretty, insect attracting and the chicken may get any seeds the parrots drop!
Poultry mix. We're feeding the chooks soaked grains, meat and veggie scraps, on top of whatever they find (the occasional mouse), the grains are a mix of wheat, linseed, sunflower, I forget what else. Fairly regularly I sow some excess grains for them.
Touch wood, since we have stopped commercial feed mixes and given them the variety of food, we haven't had any illness/infestations, it must be at least 3 years now. Note though, they have always had lots of space, normally about 50sq ft per bird. Soldier fly is something I'd like to do, if I can persuade my wife that it's hygenic/not smelly...
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
posted 5 years ago
It depends on how much you want to spend on water. Mulberries grow well in the Valley. Chickens may eat mesquite beans. Winter rye grass and dichondara . Mulch piles will attract crickets and pill bugs. You may be able to overwinter a patch of wheat and cut it when ripe. Let the chickens scratch in the straw and find the grain . Bugs and seed. Check out the Lady Balfour method of using composting paddocks to create garden beds. Use one all summer for fall/winter garden , vice-versa. Are you tractoring them ? How are you protecting them from coyotes , dogs , hawks ? I know there are amaranth and millet types that will grow there. Are you keeping egg layers or raising meat birds ?
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