Working on a re-design of our chicken area - into a chicken garden where my hope is between grasses (in wire cages), ground cover, perennials(again protected from complete obliteration by wire cages) and our compost piles we can have a near no-feed chicken garden.
Currently working on my research for plant choices. I have found a few web resources but thought I would reach out here to see if others in a Mediterranean climate here have experimented with this? If so, what plants did the chickens enjoy that were also drought tolerant?
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Chickens love broadleaf plants, clovers are good, Lucerne is good, burdock, peas, beans, etc.
When you're planting for chickens, remember that they love bugs so if you plant items that are known to draw bugs to them, you have planted a chicken heaven since they will now have most of their favorite things to eat in one area.
Our chicken yard (where we keep them while we are off farm) is planted like a food forest along with having several piles of compostable materials.
When we are home, they are true free range and will cover up to twenty acres during the day.
They always come home to roost because they have been raised that evening is when the treats are in the coop and chicken yard.
Our garden areas for us are fenced, but they love to go to the goat pastures, rummage through the rabbit hutch ground and roam though the woods.
We have guineas that were raised with the chooks and they all travel together.
Our flock has one head rooster and there is one male guinea.
I built an area in the enclosure that is fairly hidden on the ground, that seems to be where the guineas love to lay their eggs. When we want new guineas I put some of these eggs in with the broody hen(s) and they hatch them and raise them.
So far this has worked quite well for us.
Our farm seems to be a great place for grasshoppers since in summer it is hard to take a step with out disturbing several, which are instantly chased down by the flock.
The flock also likes to travel through the orchards and vineyard to gobble up any bug they find.