Appropriate Ground Cover for Free-Range Birds

US - Poultry will forage and utilize most ground covers if they are kept at a young stage.
calendar icon 22 February 2012
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If the ground cover is left to grow out, the plants will become fibrous and difficult for the birds to obtain nutrients from and digest completely.

The ground cover should be kept under about four inches tall by cutting, mowing, or grazing by larger animals in order to be best utilized by poultry. Any ground covers and green manures that grow well in your area would be suitable if managed this way.

Common ground covers that are suitable for the summer growing season include legumes (such as cowpeas and clover), millet, buckwheat, and sorghum.

Ground covers that are suitable for the winter season include hairy vetch, rye, oats, and wheat. Cool-season legumes (vetches, clovers, field peas) may also be suitable, depending on your climate.

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