Lots of land, but still going to the feed store for food and bedding.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jdrobinson, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. jdrobinson

    jdrobinson New Egg

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    SO we've got 70 acres, 100 or so chickens of different varieties, and we're proabably buying 300 pounds of food every 10 days. We need some ideas.

    There's lots of room to roam around in our pecan orchard, but we have a hawk problem. Most of the runs are large and fully covered. Other than harvesting pecans, does anyone know of any easily harvestable crop we can plant to aid in bedding and feed that will reseed itself and grow well in winter or in the shade?

    ( we're in the south georgia area )

    We have a pond and access to plenty of water.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I used to free range my chickens on a mixed pasture (mainly alfalfa and grass) and they got plenty food from that. We supplemented what they got from there with a breakfast, small lunch and dinner of cracked corn. Alfalfa grows well year round and doesn't need much care, only a good watering now and then. What you can also do is grow some corn and other grains for them over the summer months. I grew some corn in my veggie garden, not a big space, and I was amazed by the amount of food I got. I had about 100 chickens at the time and I fed them for a week on my crop.
     
  3. humphrey farms

    humphrey farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We grew tomatoes,sweet corn, bush beans and summer squash just for our chickens as well as the usual rows for ourselves. It helped keep costs down plus they free ranged all day. My son also hayed our 2 acre side field and brought in the hay for storage. The chickens used it for bedding and ate quite a bit too in the early morning before they were let out to free range.
     
  4. theemon

    theemon Out Of The Brooder

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    now I don't know if this will be chicken ok, so I'm both giving u an idea and asking ... Lol.

    Tree trimming companies shred a lot of trees and just dump it wherever they can, people call the company and give them a place the company can dump it and when there cutting in the area they sump on the persons property... I am going to try this. It's all shredded branches and wood. I think it would work great for bedding, using the deep litter method. Also, people around here use it as fill dirt or mulch.
     
  5. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alfalfa and clover are both perennials that need very little care and are highly nutritious. You could put in most any kind of grain and use it for both feed and bedding. I don't know if it get cold enough down in your neck of the woods, but we're going to put in some winter wheat and rye this fall so we'll get a little jump on it come spring I plan on doing what I did with my oats this year...nipping the top off for them to eat and play with, cutting the straw for bedding, then tilling the stubble under.
     
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  6. jdrobinson

    jdrobinson New Egg

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    Thankyou for your suggestions... right now most of the fields are covered in ( Bidens Pilosa ) ..a rather bothersome hitchiking weed. Red clover usually starts to grow in the late fall...these things are so far from the coops though, it's a pain to manage them because we have a racoon problem also.

    Any other mass cover crops would be helpful, havesting suggestions as well. I'm told it's not wise to feed them grass but they tend to eat it regardless.
     
  7. humphrey farms

    humphrey farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Grass is good for chickens. Mostly protein from what I read somewhere. Lawn clippings placed in a coop is just as healthy as if they were nibbling on your lawn. Just remember to not throw long blades of hand picked grass to your chickens. They can get crop bound.
     
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  8. jdrobinson

    jdrobinson New Egg

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    We have set up a small deal with a local trimming company that doesn't want to travel to the other side of town to do just that, though they mostly prepare firewood and burn trimmings, occasionally they get a chipper. I'll have to run the idea by the group but it's usually dead-fall or various things cleared from the right of way.

    Take care when cleaning deep litter - always use a respirator or face mask, the dust can be detrimental to the sinuses. I recently cleaned one out and got quite a headache and dirty nose.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  9. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    White clover is really good and will reseed itself. Another idea is peanuts. They are an excellent source of protein and are much easier to grow than corn. PLUS they can be grown without any fertilizers.
     

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