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Brush Piles and chickens

 
                      
Posts: 15
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I built several brush piles in my pasture for my 3 chickens to run into if a hawk or something comes diving at them. 

However, I also have 3 sheep in this 1/3-acre pasture, and the shearer just left and told me I need to mow down all the cheat grass and foxtail in the pasture as it's really bad for sheep. 

There is grass growing up all around my brush pile now and it's really tall and even growing amongst the branches.  It's not how I envisioned my brush piles!

She told me I should instead build a platform with plywood and small legs, so the chickens can run under it and then pile some brush on top of the plywood.  However, I can see my lambs jumping on the platform and messing up the brush on top.  Plus, I don't see the benefit of having the brush on top of the board anyway.

Should I just remove the brush piles or does anyone have an idea how to keep the grass from encroaching on them?

Thanks,  Beth
 
                                                
Posts: 43
Location: 14519
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Get a  Goat
 
chip sanft
Posts: 331
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I'm curious about why the shearer thought cheatgrass is bad for sheep.

The US Forest Service has a writeup on cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) here:
<http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/graminoid/brotec/all.html>.

It says: "Prescribed domestic sheep grazing can be used to suppress cheatgrass density, growth, seed production, and mulch accumulations."

Also, it seems like at certain times of the year at least, cheatgrass is good grazing for sheep: "Livestock gains on cheatgrass diets in spring are comparable to those attainable from most spring rangeland vegetation," and it goes on to mention sheep specifically. The report notes that mature cheatgrass -- later in the season -- isn't nutritious, but there is no mention anywhere of it being harmful.

So you might be all right with just leaving the cheatgrass there, or maybe even trying to concentrate the grazing on it during the spring, if you want to keep it down.

You might also look up foxtail if you have the scientific name for the species you're looking at.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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maybe your shearer wants to sell you some hay?

just saying always do your ow reasearch
 
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