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Feeding chickens ryegrass.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by muddstopper, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know chickens will eat grass if given the opportunity. What I have is about 2000 sqft of rather tall annual ryegrass I am using as a cover crop on my garden. I am thinking about fenceing this patch of ryegrass off and letting the chickens eat and poop, but I am wondering if they could eat to much and effect the health of the chickens.
     
  2. ghulst

    ghulst Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 31, 2008
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    Sounds like a very good game plan. I am sure that it will cut your feed bill about in half.
     
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, you dont think the chickens could founder themselfs on the rye?

    This is really a double test plot with the intent of raiseing soil fertility. The soil is basicly deep-deep subsoil from a highway project. My intent is to put enough chickens on the plot to completely strip the grass and fertilize with their manure. and letting the grass regrow before next planting. The soil was tilled and lime and fertilized with chemical ferts (according to soil testing) as well as fresh horse manure, before the grass was planted.
     
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have planted annual cereal rye and had it was waist-high by Spring. May be rather coarse for the birds to gain much value if it is that height.

    Will it stand for many months before you turn the chickens out on it?

    Could you allow it to mature as a grain crop?

    Steve
     
  5. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will love it
     
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The rye is annual rye grass, not rye grain. It will not have the coarse stems of the cereal ryes, but be more like the stems of a tall fescue or thimothy. The grass will not start stemming until around April. I chose this type of grass because it is fast growing, has a very fiberous root system, and if not allowed to seed, will not grow past about June so as to not pose a weed problem in my garden spot. What the chickens dont eat will be plowed under as a green manure around the first of April in time to prep soil for a veggie crop.

    This is a chicken forum so I wont get into detail about the soil fertility issue, my main concern is how will this much grass effect the chickens if injested as free range feed. So far it it seems everybody is infavor of pastureing the birds on this feed source. If no-one has different opinons of this subject, I will consider the rye a safe food source and build the fence to hold the chickens.
     
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Joel F. Salatin said that up to 30 percent of his broilers' diets was provided by pasture grazing.

    He used a rotation on his paddocks with cattle grazing, also.

    Joel Salatin. Pastured poultry manual: the Polyface model.

    Steve
     

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