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Fodder for Chickens and Goats- Dry

Sam Rosenthal

Joined: Nov 19, 2010
Posts: 12
Hi Everyone,
I am planning on growing a small food forest for 4-5 hens and maybe to feed for 3 goats and could really use some help selecting plants to grow.

I live in Agua Dulce, a high desert chaparral area of CA with sandy, compacted soil, and lots of rocks a few feet down. However, the soil I plan to sow has been given recently been enriched with aged horse manure, compost, and straw. In winter it can get as low as -5 degrees celsius and has an average low of about 1 degree in winter. In summer it can be as hot as 46 degrees and is commonly 37 degrees. I have a small lot, about 8 meters x 8 meters that can be irrigated and would do rotational grazing if necessary.I can grow fodder for goats on about 2 hilly acres but would receive zero irrigation. We get about 10-16 inches of rainfall a year.

I would like to grow some fodder trees and shrubs with some ground cover. What kind of plants would you recommend for this?

I will be using a seprate chicken from to fill with bedding (alfalfa from loose hay) for the chickens that can get composted and added to the plants.

Thank You So Much For Your Help, 
Sam Rosenthal
Michael Littlejohn

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 42
I think I got this one---there is a kind of "holy trinity" for dryland fodders insofar as your hooved livestock are concerned, they are (1) Atriplex (saltbush family), just search what subspecies grows locally in your area) (2) Winterfat, another great high protein fodder and (3) Forage Kochia, a non-native but also a really great plant. I would add (and check to see if its a banned plant in your State) Autumn olive, a spiny, skinny but highly productive fruit producer and one the chickens would love. A very safe plant which does just about everything you need is the common Honeylocust, goats will eat the leaves and pods, its a good wood for coppicing. Prarie acacia is a good dryland fodder.  Figs are good for shade, fodder and figs of course, and if you get tired of them the chickens will get them, and if the chickens get tired of figs (unlikely), fallen fruit will attract insects and the chickens will love them.  Hackberries are also highly recommended and are possibly a much better and safer choice than the Autumn olive I mentioned.....there you go, thats a nice panorama of dry country plants with deep taproots, not needing irrigation, with choices for chickens and goats...enjoy....

Joined: Jan 01, 2011
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
You would get more replies if you posted this in the critter care/permaculture sections near the top of the page, this one seems to be for jobs, events and such.  I wanted you to get the answers you needed so I thought I would mention it.
subject: Fodder for Chickens and Goats- Dry