Planting Green Fodders for the Small House Chickens

Chicken run with wire completed USEThe weather man says we are going to have a rainy week in SW Michigan this week.

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.

VERT Large frome good sunlight USE

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.

All Rhodies on frame USE

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!

Frame large and run corner

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

Ready Now for Gardening and Chicks

It’s a rare day that we go to town and actually buy consumer goods. For us it’s mostly perusing Goodwill and resale stores for function clothing. But today we went to town and it was like Christmas in March!

Fancy Feet

Flower Power!

We picked up a few minor necessities we need for the soon to be arriving chicks; a metal feeder base, a thermometer for the brooder box as well as an extra package of electrolytes for travel-worn chicks.

But the really special acquisition today was some new gardening shoes.  I’ve usually gardened in worn out leather shoes or solid green muck boots but this year I splurged on a 1970’s “Flower Power” pattern of slip on Muck boots which will keep my feet dry and warm. I prefer the easy to slip on and off moccasin on style because I am in and out of the house on and off all day long and I need to get them on and off quickly.


Tools for the new chicks arriving in April.

I’m also testing some rye grass seeds to use as chicken green fodder. We stooped at our regular feed store to get dog food and organic layer pellets and I picked up a pound of fodder seeds to test out for chicken greens. At just 65 cents a pound, I’ll be planting these this week IF the ground warms up enough.

Oh, and I did pick up three pairs of $3.99 jeans for gardening and a couple of fleece tops. Now I can actually throw away the jeans that are so full of holes, they as my husband says, made going outside in public quite indecent. The news jeans made him happy and should make the neighbors happy too!

Now if the weather would just warm up enough to warm up the soil!

Small House Homestead and gardener, Donna

P.S. Just to set the record straight…I coined the term “Flower Power” for the boot pattern because I am old enough to remember the slogan from the Flower Children era in the 1970’s when I was in college at the time.  So many people on Facebook asked for the real data…here it is: BRAND: Muck Boots, PATTERN NAME: Breezy Low, bought at Family Farm & Home in Holland, Michigan.