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Popcorn for chickens?  RSS feed

 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Hello permies!  I'm getting ready for chickens and would like to grow a bit of their food.  I believe they'll eat popcorn as part of their ration.  I have an old small pasture I could plant it in but I don't have a fence.  So here are the questions:

Is popcorn an acceptable type of corn for chickens?
Does it need to be crushed/cracked (for mature hens)?
How much popcorn would I likely get from a 20'x20' area?  I'd be hand planting so I can do whatever row spacing you'd suggest.
Do raccoons or deer bother popcorn?  I believe they love sweet corn but I'm not sure about popcorn...

Bonus question:
If I grow wheat or oats for the chickens, do deer bother those crops?

Thanks!

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Chickens will eat any type of corn without cracking. Whole popcorn is commonly added to chicken scratch.

A 20'X20' area could be expected to yield about 40 pounds of popcorn, or about 80 pounds of dent corn.

I plant corn about 1 foot apart in rows, with rows about 30 inches apart: In other words, 2.5 square feet per plant. My brother plants corn on 18 inch centers: 2.3 square feet per plant.

The popcorns that I have grown have cobs 4 to 7 feet off the ground, which minimizes predation compared to sweet corn which might only be 2.5 feet from the ground.
10-popcorn.jpg
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Popcorn and Fat Joseph
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks Joseph!  So if I have "normal" height popcorn, which critters would try to eat it on me?  Just trying to figure out if I need a fence and what style it would have to be. 
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I've exhausted my knowledge-base. The field where I have grown popcorn isn't bothered by coons nor by deer.  I don't even know what "normal" popcorn is supposed to be like. ;P

 
Su Ba
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I'm just now starting to grow corn for my chickens, so all my information is second hand. Critters will eat corn, any variety. A farmer friend in NY tells me that deer, raccoon, birds, and bear regularly get into his field corn (a dent variety). He has several hundred acres in corn, so he expects and lives with some losses due to critters. His fields are not fenced.

Where I am, rats are my main corn predator. Living next to a macadamia nut farm, rats are a given. We call them naked tailed squirrels. Happily my cats manage to control most of the rats that make it over to my farm. But I still have some various losses from time to time. I've grown two corn crops so far. The rats ate a little but not overly much. The other predators I have that would eat corn the feral pig, feral goat, and mouflon, but I have a dog that keeps them away from the growing area. My whole 20 acres is fenced, but it doesn't totally stop my corn predators. The farm dog does a far better job of it than the fence.

May I ask, why popcorn? Dent corn is far more productive.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks folks!  Since I have copious deer and likely raccoons, I guess I'll have to put up a fence.  I was hoping they only cared for sweet corn but apparently I was overly optimistic. 

I didn't realize dent corn was that much more prolific than popcorn.  I was just thinking that I could grow popcorn and sell some at the farmer's market and give some to the chickens.  If it sells well enough, it could pay for more chicken feed than it would itself produce.  We don't eat much cornmeal or sweet corn so that's why they weren't on my list.

Now I have more corn questions but I'll start a new thread....
 
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