Orchardgrass in pasture?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jasmer, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We want to start planting a perennial livestock pasture and wanted to free range our chickens on it as well. I was looking into orchardgrass, but another post on this site said that feeding this to your chickens can cause crop impactions. Do you think free range chickens will go too crazy on the orchardgrass? Should I just stick with timothy instead? Alfalfa is out, I'm using the pasture for silage and the rabbits cannot have the alfalfa.
     
  2. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2012
    Also what about crab grass?
     
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    As long as the bird are free ranging on it any type of grass will work, the problem with impacted crop comes when the birds try to eat too big of pieces of grass and the crop does not empty overnight.

    Also I see no reason for rabbits not to have Alfalfa, since most all Rabbit Pellets have a very high percentage of Alfalfa Meal in it.

    Chris
     
  4. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it's okay when mixed into their daily food supply, but giving open access to alfalfa hay instead of timothy is more the problem, because straight alfalfa is too rich for adult rabbits from what I've heard. We were going to do pasture silage and thus grow an all purpose pasture good for all our livestock, but Silage is looking to be a huge pain in the butt so we'll probably just bale it into hay instead. It'll mostly be timothy grass, but I did want to plant orchardgrass as well. This would then be ground and run through a pellet mill (if we can find one) for the winter months when there is too much snow and the chickens can't/won't forage, in addition to sprouted greens and other goodies daily to keep them healthy and happy.

    I suppose if I grind it and make pellets it would be fine for chickens, but what do you think about making hay out of our pasture? I'd wanted to plant orchardgrass, timothy grass, perennial ryegrass, and a bunch of weeds like dandelion, purslane, maybe some clover, and maybe add some herbs like thyme and mint in there somewhere. Would the chickens be able to eat this alright, or would it be better to just grind it into pellets?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

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