Good evening Permies!
Does anyone plant sunchokes in their chicken run for the chickens to eat as they sprout? I'm considering tough plants that will (hopefully) continue to regrow shoots as they are nibbled by the chooks. In addition, I'm considering a paddock-style division of my two run spaces so that the sunchoke sprouts in area A and B could get a week or so head start while the chickens are using area C. Any thoughts?
I actually blocked my sunchokes off from my ducks because they were eating them faster than they could grow. They also managed to poke their bills into the ground where I planted them, and eat the actual tubers. And, that's with ducks. Chickens are a lot more destructive than ducks. I'm afraid that, depending on your ratio of sunchokes to chickens and how much else they have to eat (and how much they like sunchokes), they might just destroy the whole patch. You might be able to get by if you rotate them through the area so that the plants have a chance to recover.
Now that my sunchokes are grown, my ducks leave them mostly alone (other than eating the lower leaves). Also, my sunchokes don't seem to live up to the reputation of taking over my property, perhaps because it's so wet on my property. They might be more vigorous for you and hold up better against the chickens.
If you do try it, make sure to save some of your sunchoke tubers (or grow them somewhere else on your property) in case the chickens do eat the whole patch!
I have a rather large patch of sunchokes about (30 by 30) and didn't even know if they like em when they are just sprouting, didn't think they did and didn't hurt the patch at all. Sunchokes are now an important part of my chicken operation. They provide cover, I can throw weeds, wood chips, scraps and such in there and with all that shade, they just take over. And don't forget, chickens for me has kept out voles and mice in my patch, very important. I keep about 5 to 7 birds.
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