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Most prolific foliage-bearing plant

 
Laurel Crisafulli
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I have some ducks, and to prevent predator attack on my suburban lot, they spend most of their time in a 12x12' raccoon proof pen. As such, we have no vegetation inside the pen. This was initially fine, because my Kale was reaching the end of its usable life, so I simply pulled the kale up by the roots and brought it to the ducks to be defoliated before tossing the skeletons in the compost. They love dandelion greens, lettuce, etc. Since i am out of kale and not quite ready to cut back my pumpkins, I am short on greens to keep feeding them and would like to plan for longer term production.

I have no shortage of bright sunny areas on my lot, though I could just as easily make a "duck bed" next to the pen to grow greens in. Anything perennial or that would survive through winter that I should be looking at besides Kale?
 
Victor Johanson
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Comfrey?
 
John Saltveit
gardener
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It looks like you're near Seattle. That's a crucial part of the equation. Saying you have full sun is a great bit of info. Part of the question is, how much water do you have to put on them? If not, I think Victor's suggestion is a good one. In addition, deep rooted plants will provide nutrients, so dandelions and edible weeds, such as sow thistle, spiny sow thistle, plantains, false dandelions, etc should be great. Bamboo produces the most foliage the quickest, but I'm not sure it's duck food. Grasses as a group produce the most leaf, but again, are they duck food?
John S
PDX OR
 
Laurel Crisafulli
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John Saltveit wrote:It looks like you're near Seattle. That's a crucial part of the equation. Saying you have full sun is a great bit of info. Part of the question is, how much water do you have to put on them? If not, I think Victor's suggestion is a good one. In addition, deep rooted plants will provide nutrients, so dandelions and edible weeds, such as sow thistle, spiny sow thistle, plantains, false dandelions, etc should be great. Bamboo produces the most foliage the quickest, but I'm not sure it's duck food. Grasses as a group produce the most leaf, but again, are they duck food?
John S
PDX OR


Well, I'm draining 50 gallons or so of water from their "pond" 1-2x/week during the summer, so keeping up on water wouldn't be a problem at all!

I guess I'll have to train myself to "like" the idea of weeds for these little guys!

 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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My duck seems to really like eating the tips of my Lemon Balm. He's turned it into one of the best pruned plants on the place. It has an absolute tune of flowers on it. Like a crazy amount. It was already a prolific seeder and now I think I may be plagued with lemon balm for decades to come. Such is the horror of permaculture.
 
John Saltveit
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What to do with your lemon balm? Lemon balm is healthy by itself, but the texture is a bit rough for my tastes. However, I was looking at the Antioxidant values of different plants. ORAC. Many stay the same dried or fresh. Lemon balm explodes with anitoxidant value when you dry it. I chop it, and hang it upside down in a hefty bag with the top open. Honestly, I forget about it. Then I gather it when it's dry, keep some of it in a tiny bowl at the table, and sprinkle it on my more bland foods-rice, potatoes, shirataki, noodles, etc. It tastes great, and is fantastically healthy, cheap and convenient. I would bet it lowers the glycemic load of such foods as well. Like the old saying goes, some antioxidants every day keep the cancer away. Or something like that.
 
William Bronson
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Galadriel Freden
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I wonder if it's possible to divide their pen in half, and let one half grow weeds for a certain period of time before switching over? I understand ducks can't jump and would only need a short barrier (maybe a 12 inch fence) to prevent them crossing it. 12x12 isn't a big space, though, so it might not work.

Another thought is to raise some plants in moveable containers and just keep rotating pots through. The ducks could give the plants a good trim, and when not in with them, the plants could benefit from the pond water. Even just pots of weeds and grass would probably be just fine.

Or could you have a small duck tractor so the ducks could have field trips around the yard once in a while?
 
Victor Johanson
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Galadriel Freden wrote:I wonder if it's possible to divide their pen in half, and let one half grow weeds for a certain period of time before switching over? I understand ducks can't jump and would only need a short barrier (maybe a 12 inch fence) to prevent them crossing it. 12x12 isn't a big space, though, so it might not work.

Another thought is to raise some plants in moveable containers and just keep rotating pots through. The ducks could give the plants a good trim, and when not in with them, the plants could benefit from the pond water. Even just pots of weeds and grass would probably be just fine.

Or could you have a small duck tractor so the ducks could have field trips around the yard once in a while?


Can't remember where online I saw it, but someone had planted forage that grew in shallow boxes with screened tops--the poultry could only get at the foliage that grew above the screen, so there was no danger of them devouring the whole plant. It was a self renewing fodder system.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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John Saltveit wrote:It looks like you're near Seattle....

Grasses... are they duck food?
John S
PDX OR


Near Seattle?

I'd say grasses here aren't really great duck food, but the slugs that traverse them sure are.
 
Tina Paxton
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Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
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Roses. My muscovies, pekin, and Swedish all love the leaves on my rose bush that they have access to. I would suspect that they would also eat the leaves from the brambles (blackberry, raspberry, etc) since they are in the rose family. Muscovies are more slug and bug eaters than plant eaters but they do like some green goodness. The Pekin and Swedish are definitely more fond of greenery than the muscies but still like to dig for bugs...

But, yeah, for plant material to feed them...roses and brambles...the leaves...
 
Tina Paxton
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Landon Sunrich wrote:
John Saltveit wrote:It looks like you're near Seattle....

Grasses... are they duck food?
John S
PDX OR


Near Seattle?

I'd say grasses here aren't really great duck food, but the slugs that traverse them sure are.


For grasses, your best bet from what I've read is geese -- they are lawn mowers on the wing! Ducks, like Landon said, are more into the slugs and bugs...
 
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