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Ducks and tree legumes (siberian pea, redbud)

 
Matthew McCoul
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Location: Southeast Michigan
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Hey folks, I'm considering growing a few redbud and siberian pea as coppices for nitrogen fixation and to a lesser extent food.

We've got ducks. Does anyone know if they can/willl eat the fallen/low to the ground peas from these? They've already got ample food from wandering our near to 2 acres so this wouldn't be a major or forced part of their diet, but more food couldn't hurt.
 
John Polk
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Here is an excerpt from http://jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistCA.htm catalog:
Young green pods eaten as a vegetable in Siberia, ripe dry seeds eaten like beans and contain 36% protein, and they are good poultry feed.


I don't know if ducks eat them, but chickens do. 
36% protein is rich !
 
Matthew McCoul
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That's a good start. Thanks for including a reference too!

Anyone have a second opinion?
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I have two siberian pea shrubs that are 5 years old and roughly eight feet tall and about 6 feet wide in full sun.  They produce a few ounces of viable seeds yearly.  If you want them to be used in any sort of feed capacity, I would say that you would need more than a few plants.  I recently started a hundred or so seedlings in order to make a feed hedge for the future.  They are easy to grow from seed and are very hardy.   They grow pretty fast and don't need any attention.  The flowers are nice and attract many pollinators in the early spring. 

Maybe start with a few plants and then use them to produce seeds for later propagation if they work out for you and you needs.


 
Matthew McCoul
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I have two siberian pea shrubs that are 5 years old and roughly eight feet tall and about 6 feet wide in full sun.  They produce a few ounces of viable seeds yearly.  If you want them to be used in any sort of feed capacity, I would say that you would need more than a few plants.  I recently started a hundred or so seedlings in order to make a feed hedge for the future.  They are easy to grow from seed and are very hardy.   They grow pretty fast and don't need any attention.  The flowers are nice and attract many pollinators in the early spring. 

Maybe start with a few plants and then use them to produce seeds for later propagation if they work out for you and you needs.




They've got ample food already. My question is basically whether the peas are edible to them. No good planting toxic plants around my ducks. Even if the trees don't produce an appreciable crop of seeds, they're mostly there for nitrogen in the first place.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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forest garden hugelkultur
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Matthew McCoul wrote:
They've got ample food already. My question is basically whether the peas are edible to them. No good planting toxic plants around my ducks. Even if the trees don't produce an appreciable crop of seeds, they're mostly there for nitrogen in the first place.



I don't see any reason why they wouldn't eat them.  They certainly don't seem to be toxic or anything like that.  The pods are pretty firm so unless you get them very early they aren't palatable.  Edible yes, fun to eat...no.
If they already have other feed sources, you may find that they don't even mess with the Pea shrub. There isn't anything so great about them that would make them a prized food source.   The seeds pop out of the pods in early summer and scatter themselves all over the place.  Ducks might be interested in them if they can find them.  I know chickens like them and they will spend time scratching and looking for the seeds.  I don't know if ducks would find it worth the effort.  They aren't great scratchers and their bills seem better for light mowing than for digging up seeds.   Either way, they are totally edible and at the same time, totally unremarkable.  Nice looking shrub though, and a good N-fixer.  Hardy as hell.

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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