Our 12th kickstarter is launching soon!
To get the earlybird goodies, click "notify me on launch" HERE.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Leigh Tate
stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • Beau Davidson
  • thomas rubino
  • Edward Norton

The when to run chickens in an establishing food forest.

 
Posts: 22
Location: Minneapolis, MN
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Would running Jerseys (thinking a flock of 25 [poultry crate] next year) in a 3 year old food forest be a great idea to kill off pasture grass, and Canadian Thistle while having them leave rhubarb, and trees alone?

They'll have plenty of wine caps and bugs to eat, so they won't go hungry.

The reason why I'm asking about the largest of chickens is because I need to worry about hawks, and wild dogs.
 
pollinator
Posts: 432
Location: Eddington, Maine
105
homeschooling kids trees chicken woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Kevin,
I'm not sure that would quite accomplish what you want, but I think it might be a good idea anyway. Chickens will eat grass, but it is not a large part of their diet, which means in order to kill off the orchard grass, you would need to leave them in one concentrated spot for so long that it would harm the soil structure and soil biology. I'm not sure about rhubarb, but the chickens would not eat the trees, but they would scratch around them a lot. This could cause some damage to the roots on such a young tree. It might not kill it, but I would worry about stunting their growth a bit. You could possibly use electric poultry netting to fence around the trees and keep the chickens safe from predators at the same time. The good part of the chickens would be the manure and the disturbing the soil slightly (move them each day or so, rather than leaving them until the grass is killed) and eating the grubs that would turn into things that would eat the trees or fruit. I believe fall is the best time to de-grub the area with chickens, but again, the killing off of the grass is not something I would suggest using chickens for.

If you just want to keep the grass under control (e.g. mowed), could I suggest geese? They do get the majority of their diet from grass, and would fertilize without scratching. Much less potential damage to the trees.

If you need to kill the grass, I can only suggest either manually cutting the sod off the top or smothering it with cardboard and woodchips.
 
Every plan is a little cooler if you have a blimp. And a tiny ad.
Paul will be at the Idaho Panhandle Preparedness Expo on October 1-2, 2022
https://permies.com/t/190477/Paul-Idaho-Panhandle-Preparedness-Expo
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic