How to Create a Chicken Forage Area
As part of my permaculture design, I am going to be expanding my chicken flock. I will be using a paddock shift method of management. This will allow my paddocks to recuperate from the chicken pressure. Also, my paddocks will contain many of my fruit trees. Chickens are great in the orchard as they provide fertilizer, insect control, and they will clean up the fallen fruit. I would like my paddocks to be filled with all the goodies that my chickens like to forage. This will limit my feed bill, and they will be eating more healthy food.
At present my chicken paddock areas have grass, clover, and various “weeds”. I would like to introduce chicken friendly edibles to my paddocks this spring. Chickens tend to make holes and bare spots, so my plan is to add compost and a chicken edible seed mix to those areas. Each year, I will continue to add these seeds. Hopefully in time I will start to change the mix of plants available to my chickens.
Lambsquarters Plantain and Dutch White Clover
Chicken Forage Seed Mix
Amaranth, Quinoa, Chard, Alfalfa, Chickweed, Chicory, Clover, Dandelion, Plantain, Lambsquarters,
Above is proof that chickens are great in an orchard. The nectarine on the left does not get any chickens foraging near it, while the one on the right is in the chicken forage area.