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Creating the perfect chicken pasture.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by domromer, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. domromer

    domromer Songster

    May 11, 2007
    We are in the process of buying a small hobby farm with 3 acres. The current owners just have regular grass and no livestock. The property has 4 sections fenced off in oder to accommodate pasture rotation. I think this is a perfect opportunity to seed the pasture areas and have really rich pasture for my chickens.

    As I mentioned all there is is grass now, I plan on leaving the grass and broadcasting in various new species that will provide forage for the hens. I thought cover crops like red clover would be a good idea. What are some other things I could spread throughout the pastures that will be better for the chickens to snack on than Kentucky Blue grass.
  2. rdranch

    rdranch Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    I think the clover is a great idea! Alfalfa is another one to consider. It's everybody's favorite here.[​IMG][​IMG]
  3. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    Wow...sounds like a great set up. Red clover sounds good. What about alfalfa?

    I think you might need a couple of these to keep your chickens company....

  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    In addition to the other suggestions, I'd also plant a little section of it with greens like chard, kale, collard or anything else like that. I know chard does great in hot or cold weather. My chickens really love it and it's a good food for them. I harvest it all during the growing season, by cutting the outside leaves and letting the center continue to grow. The chickens just eat it down to the ground. I think some people have even had their chickens eating mustard greens, as well as beets, kale, spinach and collards.

    Besides fitting in with the short seasons and extreme weather we get here, the chard comes in a rainbow of colors, so it's pretty and I like to eat it, too. [​IMG]
  5. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Quote:OMG Those are ADORABLE!!!! Not to mention so smart for the hobby farm!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I know!!! I so need one all of a sudden. I don't like goats milk and was wondering if there were tiny cows that a person with a small plot of land could raise instead of dairy goats. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that there were!!!!
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Domromer, I intended to show you what your "local" information source there in the Willamette Valley has for you on forages. After traipsing all over the OSU forage project - I darn near gave up. OSU, WSU, and UI are involved in a joint venture that is obviously just getting off the ground (so to speak [​IMG]).

    Local is goin' to be best! A visit to your county extension office should be a worthwhile experience. Until then, take a look at this 20 page pdf from WSU on Pasture and Hayland Renovation for Western Washington and Oregon It will make you highly conversant on the subject [​IMG].

    Sometimes, overseeding is tuff. Often, folks are doing it the other way around from what you are thinking - they are seeding a grass into an aging alfalfa planting, for example. Legumes can be seeded into grass, however, but conditions need to be optimum for them to have a chance with the grass competition.

    I've only worked with alfalfa and white clover but red clover has been grown around me on some of the ground that looked to be a little too difficult for alfalfa. Alsike clover holds some interest since it is apparently darn tuff, takes some cold, makes good forage and, important in your part of the world, can survive some flooding.

    Since you are thinking of overseeding in established pasture - it may be a real good idea to take a "shotgun" approach and put on a variety of legumes. But, there are so many varieties that someone real local should be the best source of information.

    You can find all the contact info for your local Coop Ext offices here. Best of Luck on your project [​IMG]!

  8. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Im siting on 2 and a half acres here an we keep fescue an bermuda on ours for the horses.

    If I were to plant just for the chickens I would take one paddock (section of pasture) an disk it under twice over a month then seed it with squares of everything that they may like and I think may grow an reseed its self. Mark each square so you don't forget what is planted in it. In a year you'll know what you wont to plant in the pasture as a whole.

    You will know what grows, what don't, what they eat an what they don't. I would also pay attention to what attracts the most bugs, bugs=happy birds.
  9. thedeacon

    thedeacon Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Legume would be important as these plants (hay) attrack many more insects than do grasses. However, I mow and bag my 2 A pasture and put the clippings directly on my garden to keep weeds from sprouting and holding in the moisture. I start about 6-8 inches thick and by fall it is down to an inch or so. the chicks just love scratching through this.
  10. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    I think alfalfa is a great idea.

    I've been asking my DH for a mini moo for years. Last year for christmas I got a box full of them (little creamers that go into coffee called mini moos). This year I plan on being a little more specific so he cant try that stunt again lol.

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