Planting forage seed mix- Advice needed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mburcim, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. mburcim

    mburcim New Egg

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    Aug 3, 2008
    I just purchased several pounds of chicken forage blend seed mix from Peaceful Valley (www.groworganic.com) We live in Austin where the temps are still in the low 90s during the day and cooling off to 60 overnight. I would like some ideas about how to plant/water this seed. It is supposed to be irrigated and I am not sure what they mean by that. I could wait to call customer service tomorrow, but I'm hoping that BCYers can guide me so I can get this done today! Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  2. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    Any seed mix is going to need water to get it started. The ladino, trefoil, and alfalfa are all perennial and should come back each year. Ladino will grow well in TX if it gets enough water, it can survive drought well but will not produce forage well in drought conditions. The trefoil can be slow to establish and should be allowed to make seed at least once per year to keep it ging well. Trefoils are also more adapted to areas north of where you are at. Alfalfa can be tough to establish on some soils and most varieties are adapted to areas more northernly than TX. The buckwheat and flax will not come back as they are annuals. The cowpeas also will not come back and do not do well on all soils. Other then the flax this blend is basically a deer food plot mix. The cowpeas also will not live well into the winter (even in TX) as they do not tolerate cooler temps. The flax may not live either. Best to wait until spring to plant.
    I know this blend is supposed to raise Omega-3 levels in eggs, but there is plenty of evidence that shows just having pasture available will raise the Omega-3 levels significantly. At $150/ 50lbs this is a very expensive seed blend - right up there with the best alfalfas and annual ryegrasses.
    For the Austin area I would recommend these forages:
    Annual Ryegrass - does well in south, Gulf coast, reseeds well
    Alfalfa - only varieties adapted to the deep south
    Arrowleaf Clover
    Crimson Clover
    Subterranean Clover
    White Clover (smaller leaved Ladinos or Dutch white probably better for chickens)
    Bahiagrass - warm season
    Crabgrass - yes, it is best known for being a weed, but it is also a great pasture forage, highly nutritious
    Those would be a few that should grow well there. Some are more toleant of drought than others. Some of these in a mixture will cost more than the "chicken forage" but you can be sure that the plants will grow where you are at. That is the problem with mixes. Unless they are created for a specific location they are made with a little of this and that so that something will grow when you plant it. Rarely do all of the seed live up to their full potential. Also remember that not all forages will grow in all soil conditions. A soil test can save a lot of frustration and wasted money.
     
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  3. mburcim

    mburcim New Egg

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    Aug 3, 2008
    I can't thank you enough for that information. I might plant a small area with this seed as a test (I only purchased 4 lbs.) and supplement the area with some of the other recommendations you have made. The soil test is a great idea and we'll do that as well. Thanks again!
     
  4. grateful

    grateful Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Bozeman, MT
    Any new advise on this topic? i have an acre for the chickens to forage. I live in Mt so our summers are a bit short.
    Travis
     

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