I took advantage of the coming rain to plant our two barley seeds patches for the chickens. I bought a 50 lb. bag of untreated barley seeds at the Amish feed store last fall and had really good luck with it. Barley seed is often used as a cover crop as it germinates very quickly and holds the soil in place. I use it as green fodder for the hens for when the grass in the run starts to get scarce.
I consider green fodder live greens and critical to my chickens well-being and very important for their nutritional needs.
I dug up the sunflowers that has self-seeded in the run and put them down on the ground for the chickens. I turned up the soil with a shovel in the open chicken run, added a couple of buckets of well composted horse manure soil. I seeded the barley heavily and the moment the chickens saw the seeds hit the ground the Rhodies jumped on the seeds like they were manna from heaven. And at four months they had never seen a seed like those before.
The Rhodies are following the leader and walking along the side of the frame.
I definitely should have waited until they were in the coop for the night before I seeded! I put the cattle panel wood frame over the seeds adding more composted soil on top and put the chicken to bed for the night. I later added cut boards as deterrents to keep them from eating all the raw seeds.
By morning we had a nice rain which moistened the ground and will help the seeds to germinate. Last fall they germinated in just a few days so I expect these will do the same. Pretty soon green barley grass will pop up through the cattle panel and I will take the frame off and store is behind the pole barn and let the girls eat to their hearts content!
The Rhodies fodder patch on day one.
The following day I planted the second and smaller patch in the other open run. Same process but on a smaller scale. This time after I turned up the soil, the hens all came to investigate and helped the process by further turning up the soil for me as they looked for bugs.
I just love it when the chickens help to make my job easier!
Small House Homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna