Grow your own chook forage
Article taken from “Australian Organic Gardening Recource Guide”
It is to your advantage to grow some food for the chooks as this will reduce feed bills & also provide the chickens with a healthy, varied diet. The chickens will be happier provided with both shade and entertainment.
Combine poultry forages with your orchard by simply placing extra plants for chicken forage in amongst the fruit trees. the orchard will need to be well established before the chooks are allowed to free range to prevent damage to youung trees.
A continuous ground cover should always be present, if the ground is being completely bared, then you have too many chooks for the area. In urban areas where space is limited then plant your chook forages in the chicken run, but give protection from the chooks and their continuous scratching.
Scattering logs, concrete pavers or rocks across the top of the root zones will help prevent the roots being damaged by constant scratching. Alternatively you can fence off part of the run to allow time for plants to establish, A chook system with multiple runs will allow you to cycle crops of greens for the chickens, in rotation.
The wire hanging baskets placed upside down and pegged down, make good plant protectors, it allows the chooks to eat what grows through but doesn’t allow them to completely destroy the plant.