A great food & cover plant for chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bayouchica, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. bayouchica

    bayouchica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    Hi yall, thought I would share this with ya. We have Jerusalem artichokes (or sunroots) that grow around our place,they usually come up around late Feb. they chickens love their leaves & in the fall when they die back their roots are good to eat for humans as well as chickens. They taste kinda nutty & have texture of a water chestnut.Really good in salads & stir-fry. [​IMG]
    They grow pretty tall like a sunflower & have a bloom like sunflowers too.They are a great cover plant for the chickens.
    They are on the right side of the pic,they should be blooming soon.
    [​IMG]

    here's a little trail for the chickens to go thru
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jsto

    Jsto Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2007
    North Carolina
    I love that you can see where your chickens have been munching on that second picture!

    Also, this is actually perfect for me. I've been looking for something to plant around the outside of the run for when they're unable to freerange. We ended up having to till out the run because of our blasted mountain ground. I hate when I have to keep them in there without greenery. I'll have to go buy some! I love that they're bushy, yet nice to look at for someone who isn't a big bush fan. Looks like they'd provide a pretty decent amount of shade. Do you recommend buying started plants? What time of year is best to plant them?
     
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Wow, thats a great idea! Where can a person get that? I looked around here at the local nursery...and they looked at me like I had 2 heads when I asked for it. Hmmmm. Maybe I can get some root/seed from ya?
     
  4. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    That is a great idea.I also wondered that, where to get some? And if it would grow where it gets colder, I guess it is perennial? Looks great and the chicks love it too.
     
  5. dreamgirl

    dreamgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2007
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Jerusalem artichoke
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.), also called the sunroot or sunchoke or topinambur, is a flowering plant native to North America grown throughout the temperate world for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.

    Despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and little to do with artichokes. The name Jerusalem is due to folk etymology; when the Jerusalem artichoke was first discovered by Europeans it was called Girasole, the Italian word for sunflower. The Jerusalem artichoke is a type of sunflower, in the same genus as the garden sunflower Helianthus annuus. Over time the name Girasole transformed into Jerusalem, and to avoid confusion people have recently started to refer to it as sunchoke or sunroot, which is closer to the original Native American name for the plant.

    The artichoke part of the Jerusalem artichoke's name comes from the taste of its edible tuber, which is somewhat similar to radish and artichoke.

    The tubers are gnarly and uneven, vaguely resembling ginger root, with a crisp texture when raw. Unlike most tubers, but in common with other members of the Asteraceae (including the artichoke), the tubers store the carbohydrate inulin (not to be confused with insulin) instead of starch. For this reason, Jerusalem artichoke tubers are an important source of fructose for industry. Jerusalem artichoke also has a great deal of unused potential as a potential crop for producing ethanol for fuel (estimated to be up to 1200 gallons of 99.5% pure ethanol per acre)[1]. The carbohydrates gives the tubers a tendency to break down and dissolve when cooked, in addition to giving them a legendary facility to produce flatulence. In 1621 this was described vividly "which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men." [2]

    Jerusalem artichokes are sold in the produce departments of many supermarkets. The freshest roots are plumpish and vibrant in appearance. If they are left too long in the open, they become wrinkled and soft and can develop a bitter taste.

    Most importantly,

    Jerusalem artichokes are easy to cultivate, which tempts gardeners to simply leave them completely alone to grow. However the quality of the edible tubers degrades unless the plants are dug up and replanted in fertile soil. This can be a chore, as even a small piece of tuber will grow if left in the ground, making the hardy plant a potential weed.

    See http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-1-a.html and http://www.gardenandhearth.com/OrganicVegetableGarden/Jerusalem-Artichokes.htm for more growing infromation. I couldn't find a source for them, but you plant the tubers and one artcle said most plant catalogs have them.​
     
  6. bayouchica

    bayouchica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    Do you recommend buying started plants? What time of year is best to plant them?

    Jsto, well I really don't know,we always leave them in the ground are winters aren't as bad as some of yall. They have been here since MIL brought this place.Around Feb. is when they start coming up so I guess depends on where ya live. During that time it still might freeze here but doesn't last long.
    yall remind me (I'll try to remember [​IMG] ) I'll send yall some. I'll have to wait until they die back & we get a good freeze. Can you believe I thinned them out last year? Doesn't even look like it.
    Yeah it's neat when bugs are hard to find in the winter, just go out & grab a shovel & the chickens are right there begging for some.
    dreamgirl, thanks for the info...
    The carbohydrates gives the tubers a tendency to break down and dissolve when cooked, in addition to giving them a legendary facility to produce flatulence. In 1621 this was described vividly "which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men." [2]

    now that part cracked me up LOL!
    Interesting about the ethanol part,I didn't know that.​
     
  7. momma-hen

    momma-hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 25, 2007
    Connecticut
    When i was a kid we had sunchokes in western MA (zone 5) that overwintered just fine without any help or interference from us. The goats liked em, the pigs liked em, the chickens liked 'em and mom liked em [​IMG] They will take over an area in a heartbeat if left unattended.

    Another note, the carb Inulin, which sunchokes produce, is low on the glycemic index, thus a great potato sub for diabetics and dieters.
     
  8. Barb Schuetz

    Barb Schuetz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2007
    Viroqua, WI
    I always thought they just came from sunflowers in general. I guess if they grow from tubers, couldn't you just buy some from the grocery store and plant them?
     
  9. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Thanks for posting this!!!

    The run we our building is located on my old veggie garden and I'm glad to know that I don't have to try and transplant my Sunchoke patch.

    If anyone wants some tubers, e-mail me and I'll send you some for postage. We have a spot of them that we've cut back to the ground so we can work in that area.

    Dawn
     
  10. 3peeps

    3peeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2007
    Another side note...Inulin,"a natural fiber", is added to my brand of yogurt because it supposedly helps your body absorb calcium better. Sounds like good stuff, minus the "flatulence." [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007

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