Chickens in Permaculture

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by shortgrass, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    The "year of recharge is the growing season lost after wheat harvest...the field gets left as stubble for a summer to conserve ground water and we can plant a different grain in the wheat stubble. It's a dry land practice; there's no way to irrigate those fields so the crops have to be timed for moisture ;)

    CRP is essentially ground that is not tilled, used, worked in any way, they're areas of high erosion or possible water run off that we don't use. At all. Its a government assisted program for land conservation...

    Grazing rotation depends on acreage/ type of animal... Cattle for instance, can use 10 acres in a month per cow... sheep, maybe 5?... So it depends on how many acres and what kind of vegetation it has...rain is a big factor too ;) altogether the cattle have access to more than enough to support them... The sheep come home for safety of lambing.

    The Alfalfa hay is organic. That's why it and the corn are the 2 crops rotated together; the GROUND is organic so I can't and won't use seed that is GMO or contaminated on those fields...

    Don't get me started on pollen drift lol...or the rogue crop dusters that I have to keep a hawk eye out for.... :( frustrating.

    I hope I answered all the questions haha... Its a headache most days ;)
     
  2. I am surrounded by farms that usually raise alfalfa for a few cuttings and then a big crop of corn. All of it GMO.

    I would like to raise those same crops and I've thought about maybe reversing the order. Plant corn first in the early part of summer when everyone else is growing alfalfa. Then, be ready to change over to alfalfa when they are getting ready to change over to corn.

    That might be something to consider. Of course I don't know WHY they grow them in that order, there may be a perfectly good reason why it won't work in reverse. I don't know.
     
  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Alfalfa is a nitrogen fixer....corn needs the high nitrogen to feed it.... Also, alfalfa toxifies the soil; is it has a pheromone type chemical its roots release that kills competing weeds and sprouts...that's just in the nature of the plant. Alfalfa fields are normally kept for 5-6 years before being tilled under, cut 4 times a year. The first year seedling alfalfa csn only handle 2 cuttings; its a perennial type legume so it takes a couple years to accumulate root mass.

    Corn is annual. It can only be grown in one season...areas with no frost can get 2 plantings...possibly...with 120 day corn...but that would be pushing the soil infrastructure pretty hard. It would need to rest for the soil to regenerate from that heavy of s nitrogen feeder....that's what the sheep poo is for, nitrogen ;)
     
  4. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Lacy Blues, we have a saying about the corn lol..." Knee high by the 4th of July." You know you'll make a crop before frost if its knee high by then ;) what zone are you in? Can't start corn until the ground reaches about 60 degrees, and it has to mature by frost...as long as you can get it inthe ground in time, you csn try buckwheat for a quick boost before OR after a corn crop...depending on your first and last frost :)
     
  5. I am in zone 5b here.

    Are all alfalfas the same in those regards? I could swear they usually plow it under and plant corn. Even if they were done in reverse, plowing alfalfa under in the fall and allowing it to rest over winter...wouldn't the nitrogen still be there? We get a whopping 5" of rain annually here on average so I don't think it would get washed way.

    I wonder if there are any good corn varieties that can start early? I'll have to check my catalogs.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Frost risk with planting too early and low temperatures can hinder germination too much.
     
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Well it could be clover... Clover and alfalfa are related, but clover is more tender and easier to kill... Some farmers even sow clover in after corn comes up to help with weed control and N fixation... Clovers are really good cover crops but they can be hard to kill...

    Here's a trade secret for GMO farms...maybe not a "secret" lol, but its a doozy lol.... In order to grow corn, alfalfa AND clover have to be killed... KILLED DEAD. They're perrenial, so they just keep coming back, even if you till it... GMO corn is "round up ready" for more than just ease of weed control... 2-4-D, Glyphosphate, AKA Round up, is used to kill the hay, then 3 weeks later, hello GMO round up ready corn that will grow in the poisoned soil. :( yep. That might be what you're seeing. Breaks my heart :(

    I forgot you said you were in North NV, you are in the same zone as I am ;) Corn is pretty much set in our zone. Can't plant before pretty much May...I tried some a week earlier in my garden than the field this year...May 7 in the garden, May 13 in the field...my garden beat the field...then we got frost. Lol mine got zapped but made it.... Watch the farmers. When you see them planting corn, get to planting yours,; corn hates late spring frost... I've seen starts in the greenhouses, but if you're growing more than 12 plants, its just ttoouch hassle to try to transplant...they'll have better root systems and better health just started in the ground ;)

    Look in to Austrian winter peas or a winter rye if you want something that will grow through winter and resume in spring...or you could do a clover or buckwheat after harvesting this fall and till it under a month before sowing in spring too... Just don't let cover crops go to seed or it will become a permanent garden cover too lol ;)

    Look into dent corn or popcorn too...sweet corn will take a lot if extra moisture but dent and popcorn make good flour and the chickens love it :)
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    There's one annual clover....maybe more?
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Well some clovers, like red clover, are really just very tender lol... The "annual" part more pertaining to the death of the plant after it seeds. Most clovers and alfalfa are cut before allowed to seed, so they keep growing and growing...until they're killed. Even annual clover has to be tilled under to kill it. Most other cover crops you can just cut the seed head off before seed forms and the plant will die. I actually like clover a lot, its just such a pain to get rid of when I don't have that whole 2-4-D option ;)
     

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