- Dec 22, 2011
OK, so I'm a farmer at heart but living on a tiny suburban lot for now. I planted a small 4' x 8' plot of Ladak alfalfa this spring specifically to feed my chickens. I planted it VERY thick and I think every single seed came up. Right now it is at least 1 plant per square inch, would it be better to thin it some? I have kept it weeded too, so it is pure alfalfa. After finally getting all of the rabbits fenced out that kept mowing it down, it is now up to about 6-8" in height. The only real info I can find about growing and harvesting alfalfa is written for people planting acres to harvest for hay. I just want to cut mine and feed it fresh, smallish amounts at a time. Is it like most other plants in that it's safe to remove a third of the growth at any time? I have read that when it's harvested for hay they cut it to 1" tall to encourage basal shoots, would it be better for stand longevity to cut it real short like that less often, or can I cut lightly more frequently? Do I need to wait for it to get to "bud stage" or can I cut it anytime and expect good nutritional value? Any reason I can't feed it straight (I also have romaine lettuce, spinach and collards planted that I share with the girls). I do also buy a couple of alfalfa bales a year to give the girls to scratch around in ( a few flakes at a time) and they like pecking at it.