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Growing plants and shrubs for chickens to eat, etc.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

We recently moved to a new home. Our chickens have about a 1/4 acre pasture to free range in. We want to plant some things that would be benefical for the chickens to peck at and to eat. We would probably need to plant it in specified beds because I don't think we would be able to grow cover crops because of the grass that is already established in the run.

We also would like to plant some safe and beneficial shrubs for shade, cover, and that they could munch on too.
What would be some of the best choices for us to plant. PS: we have acidic soil thanks to the line of very tall pine trees that goes along side of the run.

Any help would is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Posey

Cirque de Poulet - It's a chicken circus 'round here: Australorps, Giant Cochins, Welsummers, Ameraucanas, Buff Orpingtons, Marans, Salmon Faverolles and Silkies.
 

Aren't chickens GREAT!!! Who needs a TV when ya have chickens?
Life is too short to dance with a cranky rooster, gotta have a sweet boy!

poseysplace.com and seektheancientpath.com

 

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Cirque de Poulet - It's a chicken circus 'round here: Australorps, Giant Cochins, Welsummers, Ameraucanas, Buff Orpingtons, Marans, Salmon Faverolles and Silkies.
 

Aren't chickens GREAT!!! Who needs a TV when ya have chickens?
Life is too short to dance with a cranky rooster, gotta have a sweet boy!

poseysplace.com and seektheancientpath.com

 

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post #2 of 10

Here's a couple of websites that might help...

http://www.ehow.com/list_7372892_plants-chickens-garden.html

Here's what not to plant...

http://poultrykeeper.com/chickens/health/poisonous-plants-for-chickens.html

I've found it's easier to plant things outside of their run area because they will pick it to death in no time and then it won't grow back (plants need some leaves left in tact for photosynthesis), then just take clippings and throw them in the pen.  Or you might try hanging baskets that are a little too high for them to destroy but they could eat what hangs down when it gets long enough.  I grow Virginia Creeper on the outside of our fence (the backyard fence since they have taken over my whole yard) but not sure if it will grow in acidic soil.   hu
I have the opposite problem here.   hmm

Don't miss the new Nevada thread pages here!  These pages are in their infancy so don't hesitate to send me suggestions for additions or improvements.  Just be kind... I'm old and technologically challenged.     LOL

 

All things Nevada.

 

New Nevada recipe pages here.

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Don't miss the new Nevada thread pages here!  These pages are in their infancy so don't hesitate to send me suggestions for additions or improvements.  Just be kind... I'm old and technologically challenged.     LOL

 

All things Nevada.

 

New Nevada recipe pages here.

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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you Sunny Dawn:
I tried the link but the page was empty.
Could they have removed the content?

Love your quote.
Posey

Cirque de Poulet - It's a chicken circus 'round here: Australorps, Giant Cochins, Welsummers, Ameraucanas, Buff Orpingtons, Marans, Salmon Faverolles and Silkies.
 

Aren't chickens GREAT!!! Who needs a TV when ya have chickens?
Life is too short to dance with a cranky rooster, gotta have a sweet boy!

poseysplace.com and seektheancientpath.com

 

Reply

Cirque de Poulet - It's a chicken circus 'round here: Australorps, Giant Cochins, Welsummers, Ameraucanas, Buff Orpingtons, Marans, Salmon Faverolles and Silkies.
 

Aren't chickens GREAT!!! Who needs a TV when ya have chickens?
Life is too short to dance with a cranky rooster, gotta have a sweet boy!

poseysplace.com and seektheancientpath.com

 

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post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by posey 

Thank you Sunny Dawn:
I tried the link but the page was empty.
Could they have removed the content?

Love your quote.
Posey


Thank you!  You are the first person that has commented on my sig line. 
Not sure why the sites came up blank for you, I just clicked on them both and they came up fine.  They might have been down temporarily.  They did take a little bit to load.
Good luck with your flock!

Don't miss the new Nevada thread pages here!  These pages are in their infancy so don't hesitate to send me suggestions for additions or improvements.  Just be kind... I'm old and technologically challenged.     LOL

 

All things Nevada.

 

New Nevada recipe pages here.

Reply

Don't miss the new Nevada thread pages here!  These pages are in their infancy so don't hesitate to send me suggestions for additions or improvements.  Just be kind... I'm old and technologically challenged.     LOL

 

All things Nevada.

 

New Nevada recipe pages here.

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post #5 of 10

To agree with Sunny planting something in your run is useless. It will hardly make it out of the ground before they mow it over.  I planted black oil sunflowers along the outside of the run.  They offered some shade once they got high and then once they went to seed I would lop of a head and knock it in the run.  Between those and the bruised tomatoes that we didn't eat I quickly learned where the term pecking order came from.  They would beat each other up to get to that stuff. 

As far as the acidic soil you can treat with ground limestone.  The brown powder or pellets wont burn your lawn or the animals feet.  The white kind will so you have to be careful with that.  Lime is only a neutralizer so it will only take you to a 7.0 ph.  The brown just takes some time where as the white is instant.  However under a pine tree you are fighting a loosing battle till you git rid of the trees.  You can help matters by keeping all of the needles raked up and keep after with a light dusting of white lime, but that would be alot of work and I don't know if that would even do it. 

Good luck with that!!!!

post #6 of 10

Hello, just getting back into chickens ourselves, but what about mulberry bushes?

themodernhomestead.us/article/Growing-Poultry-Feeds-3.html has a nice little blurb

post #7 of 10

I would agree that under most circumstances, planting something in the run is an exercise in futility.  However, with some careful plant selection and protecting the plants you can grow things in the run.   Lots of folks use wire (eg. hardware cloth) to surround the plants until they get large enough to keep the chickens from pecking the plant to death.  Trees, especially fruit trees, can work well in a run.  Mulberry trees are a favorite.  I have grapevines that grow up through the center and cover my entire run, providing a constant source of green leaves throughout spring, summer and fall.  Here is a list of plants that other BYCers have successfully grown in their chicken runs: http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=22588  I suspect a lot of the success has to do with the size of the run and the number of chickens in it and how often they get to free range.  It's probably also easier to grow plants in the run in warmer climates.

Hi garnetmoth!  welcome-byc  Yes, mulberry trees!

Check out my award winning feed saving treadle feeder

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Tending my cubic meter sunken garden with my ladies

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Check out my award winning feed saving treadle feeder

Thinking about raising mealworms?  Here's how I do it

Got poultry ticks?

Tending my cubic meter sunken garden with my ladies

Reply
post #8 of 10

We built our run under one of our mulberry trees.  Last year was a bumper year and that tree produced fruit for months.  Our chickens loved the berries and kept the ground cleaned up.  Happy chickens and happy chicken owners! smile

Debi
Mom to 6, Grandma to 4,  Owned by a backyard flock of healthy, happy hens!

 

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Debi
Mom to 6, Grandma to 4,  Owned by a backyard flock of healthy, happy hens!

 

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post #9 of 10

I've been working on this too. here is a link to what I have so far.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

A pasture of the right mix of tasty stuff will also be appreciated.
http://www.groworganic.com/omega-3-chicken-forage-blend-irrigated.html

Also, I'm a big fan of the chicken tractor to direct them to eat where you want, especially in the spring when you need to be more careful.

"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Check out my page on Chickens and Gardens:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

other random things: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-first-chickies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-greenhouse-hen-house-combo-the-permaculture-holy-grail

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"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Check out my page on Chickens and Gardens:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=48643-chicken-proof-garden

other random things: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-first-chickies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-greenhouse-hen-house-combo-the-permaculture-holy-grail

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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by posey 

PS: we have acidic soil thanks to the line of very tall pine trees that goes along side of the run.


Your soil may not necessarily be acidic just because you have pines. They usually prefer acidic soil but don'tmake the soil acidic.
For instance, I live on the other side of the country in a pine forest, yet the soil here tends to be very neutral. So if you think your limited in what you can grow, have your soil tested by your county ag dept. It's usually not very expensive, and you may find you have a lot more options! smile
ETA: Here's a link about it if you're interested http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20101127/WDH04/11270318/Fallen-pine-needles-can-be-used-as-mulch


Edited by Weedchick - 2/2/11 at 3:15pm
"So, be quick to hear and slow to speak..."
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"So, be quick to hear and slow to speak..."
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