So i was reading about useing cattle to seed legumes ect and i thought this would be a excellent way to improve pastures. Problem is that i dont have amy cows yet, maybe next year. So i was wondering if anyone has had any experience using wild birds or your chickens which i do have. For this. Im thinking about doing cicer milk vetch, sainfoin, trefoil, sweet clover, and alfalfa. I already have lots of white red and aslike clover growing
Location: Alberta, Great White North zone 4
posted 2 years ago
Another thought i had which i might do is to do a few small fenced plots then once they have gone to seed. Let the deer after them.
If anyone has any othet ideas of plants that might do well let me know. Im in zone 3 alberta canada on limestone soil(old freestone riverbed) Ph 7.8.
The reason this works with cattle--though I've heard conflicting success rates--is that the seeds simply pass through the digestive system more or less intact. Chickens, however, have a nifty bit of innards called the gizzard which grinds the seeds they eat (among other things) into bits. So I wouldn't count on it as a good way to seed pastures, though it would make for a really expensive way to feed your chickens!
As Wes brought up, birds are not the best choice for spreading seed due to their gizzard, only the hardest seeds would survive the journey through the birds (grape seeds are one that do make it to and out the rear end).
Mostly it will be the ruminants and other grazers that do the best job; Cattle, sheep, goats and hogs are great at spreading some seed species, but usually not grass seeds (they are thin hulled and get digested for the most part).
Our hogs do a good job of spreading pumpkin, squash, tomato and other seeds from the vegetables they eat, these grow very well since they are planted in manure that leaches many nutrients into the soil before the seed sprouts.
Chickens can work but the seeds that get planted will be the ones they miss as they scratch and peck. (I have chickens, they don't miss much at all when it comes to seeds).