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Growing food & forage for your poultry! 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:44 pm
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Location: Gundaroo NSW/ACT
Post Growing food & forage for your poultry!
This information is courtesy of greenharvest
Growing Your Own Chicken & Poultry food:
Keeping chooks supplies you with organic free-range eggs and chicken manure but the other advantages are less obvious. Poultry convert the inedible into the edible, turning kitchen scraps into eggs, reducing the need to compost. If you turn your orchard into a poultry forage system you will reduce your need for fertiliser, mowing and pest control. Chooks are very industrious when it comes to catching insects, particularly fruit fly and codling moth.

It is to your advantage to grow some food for the chooks as this will reduce feed bills and also provide the chickens with a healthy, varied diet. The chickens will be happier provided with both shade and entertainment.

A poultry forage system can be combined with an orchard, simply by placing in amongst the fruit trees, extra plants for chicken forage. The fruit trees will need to be well established before the poultry are introduced to the area, to prevent damage to young trees. Maintain the number of poultry at a level where a continuous groundcover is always present. If the ground is being completely bared, then you have too many chooks for the area.

In urban areas where space is limited then chicken forages can be planted in the actual chicken run, but these will need protection from the chooks and their continuous scratching. Provide protection by placing wire cages around young trees. Scattering logs, concrete pavers or rocks across the top of the root zone of trees will prevent the roots being damaged by constant scratching. Fencing off areas of the chicken run will allow time for plants to establish. If possible, design a system with multiple runs to allow a crop of greens or grain to be grown for the chickens, in rotation.

Useful plants for poultry forage:

Vines for fences and trellis:
Banana passionfruit, black passionfruit, choko, grapes, cucumber, beans, climbing spinach

Plants for sowing in rotation:
Sunflower, amaranth, corn, millet, buckwheat, chickpea, sorghum, wheat, oats, barley, lucerne, clover

Trees and Shrubs with fruit:
Mulberry, lillypilly or other native bushfoods, persimmon, pawpaw, feijoa, strawberry guava, tamarillo, custard apple, peach, banana (chop up the stems), fig, jaboticaba, grumichama, Brazilian cherry, pears

Trees and Shrubs with seeds or pods (requires more space)
Tree lucerne/tagasaste, wattle, pigeon pea

Comfrey, arrowroot, New Zealand spinach syn. Warrigal greens

Shire Horses, Dexter Cattle,Dorper Sheep, Large Black Pigs & Barnevelder Chickens
Darkmoor Shire Horse Stud

Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:05 am
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 6:18 pm
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Location: Bayside suburbs Melbourne
Post Re: Growing food & forage for your poultry!
Thanks Cai, good resource and info. I have some seed amaranth to go in at some stage, have already planted and shared the leaf amaranth with the chooks. If you planted by that list is seems the chooks would by far end up being better fed than most people. ;)

Lots of pets, garden and cups of tea on the front porch. Farm in the suburbs.

Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:58 pm

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:13 pm
Posts: 30
Post Re: Growing food & forage for your poultry!
I can thoroughly recommend lucerne as easy-to-grow, reliable, and well-liked by chooks in our climate. If you let it go to seed, it comes back very reliably as well, which is extremely handy.

AND it even comes back after the leaves have been stripped back to stalks by the chooks! As long as they don't dig up the roots, it recovers perfectly.

Brilliant stuff.

Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:54 am
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