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Chicken friendly cover crops?

Lodi, United States

I am planning on using cover crops on my raised beds this winter and then let the chickens eat and turn them under. Does anyone know which cool weather cover crops are best for chickens?

This is one of my favorite sources for organic seeds and they have a lot of cover crop choices. Advice?

http://www.groworganic.com/cgy_364.html

Lodi, United States

I'm not sure if that link is working. The site if for Peaceful Valley Seeds.

This is a very interesting site: http://www.permaculture.info/index.php/Temperate_chicken_forage_guild

Are either of these links working? I can't get them to click--but the addresses are right.

This message was edited Aug 28, 2008 12:10 AM

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Both your links are working. The one for Peaceful Valley Farm Supply takes me to the section on bulk annual cover crops.
Are you in Lodi, CA?

You might enjoy the section on "chicken-till" from this article:
http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Organic-Gardening-Cover-Crops.html

Quoting:
Poultry power!
The above two are obviously labor-intensive, involving an attack on a tough living sod with hand tools. (Don’t think it will be much easier with a power tiller. I have many times attacked a robust rye cover with a power tiller—the job took about as long as with the hand tools, the tiller was noisy and stinky, and it beat me half to death! I prefer hand-to-plant combat.) There is an easy way to turn that cover crop in, however. Let your flock of chickens do it! You do have a flock, don’t you? If not, and if it is at all possible for you to have one on your homestead, you would find there are a number of ways to use the flock to help with the work of the garden, the orchard, and other homestead projects. When I want to “chicken-till” a plot with a cover crop, I set a small portable shelter in the middle and surround it with electric net fencing energized by a solar-powered fence charger. I feed, water, and collect eggs—exactly as I would if they were on the pasture, or even locked in a henhouse—and forget about breaking my back with that cover crop. The chickens do what chickens love to do—scratch, and scratch, and scratch. They never tire, they don’t break down, they don’t require gas and oil, and the sounds they make are much more pleasant than a tiller. After a week or two—varying with the type of cover, the size of plot, and the number of birds—they completely turn in the cover crop, and I can move them elsewhere and plant. Please note that in the process they have:
Eaten nutrient-dense foods (living green plants, earthworms, etc.) of a quality I cannot hope to match, boosting their health and vitality.
“Sanitized” the area for slugs and slug eggs. It will be months before the slug population can recover to damaging levels.
Tilled in the tough over-winter cover crop while I was busy with other projects.
Incorporated their droppings, now finely dispersed, boosting the biological activity in the top few inches of soil and hastening the breakdown of the cover crop. (Talk about multi-tasking!)

Lodi, United States

Yes! That is exactly what I hoped they would do. I am leaning toward Austrian Peas.

Thanks so much!

And I am in Lodi, CA--for now.

This message was edited Aug 28, 2008 12:27 AM

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

I remember when Lodi was a capital of honey production, apiaries & orchards everywhere instead of housing tracts.

Austrian peas are a pretty cover crop.

Lodi, United States

Right now we are fighting off the encroachment of Stockton. Still a lot of orchards and vineyards--olives are being planted widely too. I wasn't aware of its apiary history. It is pretty in the spring with all the fruit trees blossoming,

Lodi, United States

Look what I found under pasture crops!

http://www.groworganic.com/item_SPI800_Omega3_Chicken_Forage_Blend_Irri.html

This message was edited Aug 28, 2008 8:34 PM

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Don't you just love PVFS! LOL!
Please post a pick of your chicks in the Omega-3 Chicken Forage blend.

Lodi, United States

I will!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

well, i had been thinking fava beans, followed by winte rrye, followed by yellow sweet clover... is their a minimum order you would like to split?

Lodi, United States

I'd be glad to split--You pick. Did you see the Omega 3 Chicken Forage blend? The site has a whole section of pasture blends.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

didn'
t click the link, no browing time. but at some point i will have more time.... i seriuously need something to sow in the round pen soon...

Lodi, United States

Just click the link--it will be right there. So easy--so seductive........

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

ummm yeah, link isn't working...

Lodi, United States

Yes it is. Go ahead, click it.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

NO< IT ISN"T

Lodi, United States

You know you want to......

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz.....

Lodi, United States

Evil :0)

(AnjL) Fremont, CA(Zone 9b)

roflmbo!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

IM CLICKING THE LINK NOW...>>>

OK, on the omega one, it doesn't say what time of year. we do have winter here. our duck habitat could use some extra stuff, so maybe i could use 2 pounds...

This message was edited Aug 30, 2008 12:33 AM

maybe you should check on the shipping and be sure that combinging the order is worthwhile...

i already have some sudan and yellowclover and winter rye established, but would want more seeds from those, about 1 pound each.

bearded barley is best, buckwheat [one of the omega seeds] is WARM season...

i oculd use about 40 pound so fthe budget soil builder mix...

OOOPS the HAIRY VETCH grows better here, so make it the COLD ZONE SOIL BUILDER...

gotta have fava beans...

WOW!!!! JAPANESE MILLET!!!! WILL NEED THAT INTHE SPRING...

Juan triticale will be perfect for the horse pasture, where there is way too much nitrogen...

*mustard mix* yippeeeee! hog heaven here!

okeydokey, don't know whether to blame catscan or iced coffee for my new xcitement... but WHITE WINTER WHEAT would be my final selection...

This message was edited Aug 30, 2008 12:48 AM

Lodi, United States

I'll order enough--I think it is for cool weather. I couldn't order on line yesterday--it wouldn't go through, so they called today and said that there was a problem on the site. You have to put in a date--like tomorrow--instead of ASAP. But they were hoping to fix it.

I'll check the weather--everything is divided up into cool and warm season--I need cool too.

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

if I remember right it said on the omega 3 to plant after all chance of frost. said something that in the mix if a frost got to it it is toxic to horses. So I couldnt plant that as we have 2 wanna be horses. I need to figure out something soon I have about 100 by 100 area I can plant something in there.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

just look at the ingredients and leave out the flax. it had clover, beans, and vetch...

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

ok so i can order it without flax?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

you just order the other grains separately... of course it is the flax that give the omega, but you can simply feed them flax seed or add flax seed oil to their feed...

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

I could also fence off the area so the horses cant get to it.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

true, but it will reseed and spread. i owuldn't chance it. there is a good reason they list that warning... a case of flax seed oil wouldnt be much expense, and the other seeds cost a lot less...

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

ok will look into it in the spring. Or should I get it now and plant it?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

i would plant in about a month. the vetch, fava beans, winter wheat winter rye, etc can be mixed together or you can do patches. they help hold hte soil together over winter, and would proviide much foraging for the chickens. dont' know what they would eat and what they wouldn't, but it is all good. oh, and get mustard too.

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

what do you think 5 lbs?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

lemme look...

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

the list she posted was only annuals, here are the perrennials...

http://www.groworganic.com/cgy_365.html

and the organics

http://www.groworganic.com/cgy_358.html

my, i AM getting lost in there...

This message was edited Aug 30, 2008 9:41 AM

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

ok got it thanks, i am a bit distracted to really look at what I will need, I plan on just throwing it all down on the ground together.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

sorry,t o answer your quesiton of how much, i was reading through all the text.... many say how much per acre, and your spot is 10000 sq feet, just over 1/3 of an acre i think...

so, are you going with a mix like soil builder,
http://www.groworganic.com/item_SCM121_Organic_Soil_Builder_Mix__Raw_Lb.html

ingredients are:Contains: 40% Bell Beans, 20% Magnus or BioMaster Winter Peas, 30% Purple Vetch, 10% Cayuse Oats.

and it says 3-5 [pounds per 100 sft, so i woul dsay you need 30-=50 pounds, and ti says sow in sept-oct...

and you need the innoculant for them...


tf

This message was edited Aug 30, 2008 9:47 AM

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

I am just going to scatter. and let it grow up and then brush hog it and rake it up in a pile.

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