A labor intensive tree crop.
I have one that produces and I know plenty of places to get more, but the time that goes into hulling , shelling and sorting the shells from the meat make the process seem pointless.
I have heard that pigs are a great way of garnering a gain from Black Walnuts, because pigs will do all that work for you, and make delicious pork from the nut meat.
I have no place for pigs and little desire to eat animals I know, but I do have laying hens...
I would have to crush the nuts, but after that, my chook friends could do the rest.
They wouldn't mind the mess or any bugs.
Tell me, how would you crush a bushel of Black Walnuts, assuming you had poultry volunteers to pick through the carnage?
Hans, that video showed an amazing build!
More complex than I need, but amazing.
Looks like I will keep it simple, a hammer or a car will do the trick.
So, any concerns that about a heavy diet of walnuts for the chooks?
I tend to give them free choice of scraps, layer feed, BOSS, and cracked corn, yet they spend most days scratching for bugs in the leaf pile.
Walnuts seem attractive because they are free, and they will keep.
i'm part owner of a company that processes wild nuts. i've found that if we let the walnuts stack up a bit waiting for us to dehull them, the crates we keep them in leak hull worms (little maggots) enough so that little dips in an uneven floor will fill up with them. it may be worth it to collect them relatively early in the season and store them over some kind of catch-basin so you can get a earlier protein and fat bump before you even get around to cracking the nuts. my chickens sure love the worms.
re: feeding lots of walnuts, just be aware that they're very fatty compared to most chicken feeds. i'd monitor and try to make sure that the chickens don't get too fat, since that can apparently negatively impact egglaying. bonus might be that hull bits etc that they pick up with the nuts might help keep parasitic worms away. maybe the nut meats would have some of this effect too? i don't know.