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Port Jackson Willow (Acacia Saligna) as forage. Pigs? Goats? Cattle?

 
Timothy Hewitt-Coleman
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Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa (34 degrees south)
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We have a few pigs in the Tsitsikama area (South Africa) I noticed that they had been eating the Port Jackson (Acacia Saligna) leaves they could reach in their paddock. I chopped some branches the other day and threw them in for the pigs. They really enjoyed them. Port Jackson is a terrible invasive species here in our part of the world. So I am happy that the pigs will eat it. But does anybody know if it is any good for them? Does it have any real nutritional value?

 
Burra Maluca
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bump
 
Don Eggleston
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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I am no expert--just experimenting like you, but here are some general principles I've discovered:

1. If given free choice, and they're not starving, I believe most animals will not eat anything bad for them. Proof is in the pudding when you butcher them and the liver is clean.

2. Animals need variety, and relish any change in diet.

3. Permaculture is about finding a solution in the problem, and I think you've stumbled on one. I have five invasive species I have planted in my sheep pasture: a vigorous fescue, bermudagrass, a little creeping broadleaf, bamboo, and comfrey.

Don
 
dirk maes
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Location: belgium
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Timothy,
fyi, as you live in SA maybe you know a bit of Afrikaans, the link is in Dutch witch is a related language. Its not specific about Acacia but try to contact them, they might be good help.

http://www.voederbomen.nl/
 
Timothy Hewitt-Coleman
Posts: 137
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa (34 degrees south)
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@Don. Thanks. I have noticed my cattle will sometimes rush past good grass to browse on Port Jackson. Other times they just ignore it. I suppose they like the variety just as we do.
 
Timothy Hewitt-Coleman
Posts: 137
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa (34 degrees south)
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@Dirk. Thanks I can just follow the Dutch if I really concentrate. "Maar Afrikaans is heel makliker vir my. Al is dit a tweede taal vat ek selde praat. "
 
Don Eggleston
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Two years ago, when I tried my sheep (two dorper ewes) in the orchard (only deciduous--no leaves) in December, they snipped off all the reachable fruit buds, so my permie idea was kaput. But it was painful to buy alfalfa when I had a beautiful selection of grass and "weeds" under the trees in my fenced-in apple orchard. I kept experimenting, and read on this thread that sheep would not touch trees if they were given access to a salt block with minerals, so I tried it, and it has now been six days that they have been in that orchard and I haven't lost a fruit spur! Of course, when they start to eat the buds, I will rotate them to another pasture.

Now, I don't think this is common knowledge. There must be many others laboring under the false (at least for dorpers in Dec. in CA with apples) premise that sheep and orchards/vineyards are not compatible. It's a great example of permaculture.

Of course, there are some limitations: my (mostly) stone fruit orchard includes avocados guavas and blueberries, which are evergreen, and the sheep devour, so I can't let them in there.

By the way, thanks to this thread, I will be using acacia (considered another "invasive undersirable weed" here) as a living fence for one side of my future sheep pasture. Right now I have our local invasive bamboo planted on one side and the teardrop shaped cactus the Mexicans get "tunas" from on the other side. That makes five species: comfrey, quackgrass, kikuyu, a little purple-leaved broadleaf groundcover, tuna cactus, bamboo, and acacia that will form the fence (probably with a strand of electric wire at first) and the fodder for this new 50'x50' pasture. It's on a south facing ridge and it will need some water, so I did have to buy drip pipe, but all of these species need very little water. Most people tell me that I should not plant these things because they are weeds/invasive, etc., but the solution is in the problem, as we know. These are the perfect plants (I hope) for feeding my sheep on a formerly barren, eroding slope. I'm going to call it my "free lambchop hill." My only input will be a little water.

Great website!
 
Timothy Hewitt-Coleman
Posts: 137
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa (34 degrees south)
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@ Don. Interesting to hear your experience with Dorpers. I did not realize this South African bread was popular as far away as California.
 
R Hasting
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Location: Mineola, Texas
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Timothy Hewitt-Coleman wrote:@ Don. Interesting to hear your experience with Dorpers. I did not realize this South African bread was popular as far away as California.


Not only in California. Dorpers are probably the number 1 meat breed in Texas as well.

Also, since the tree is in the acacia family, it is likely to be a nitrogen fixer. If so, the pigs are cycling the nutrients into the soil and accelerating the process. If it is invasive, you may want to help it out and get more, and use these as support trees for more productive varieties that you would plant to move the forest along, but that is an answer for a question not asked..

Richard
 
Timothy Hewitt-Coleman
Posts: 137
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa (34 degrees south)
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@ Richard. I have been told Port Jackson is nitrogen fixing. I just started grazing some cattle on a new site near Port Elizabeth (South Africa) They really enjoy the Port Jackson. They have browsed all the leaves within reaching distance in their camp. When I cut down a branch for them, they fight among each other for it as though it is a rare treat! I have read though that the tanin levels are high and that could limit the amount they are able to consume in any given day. Anybody know more about tanins and what can can be done to balance their effects?
 
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