IMG_7663 IMG_7657Up to 25% of the chickens diet is grown here on the farm in the form of the pasture that they eat. Organic chicken feed is expensive so the more we can grow the better. My bible on growing a great pasture is from the 1940’s book ‘Fertility Pastures’, by an English farmer named Newman Turner. He gives specific seed mixes for chickens and I have been able to find a mix here that is pretty close with perennial ryegrass and three perennial clovers. We have been able to achieve some pretty amazing pastures over the past few years. The issue is that it takes the clovers almost a full year to really get going which is just the time we break the pasture and plant it back to vegetables. Last fall the egg production on a lush clover dominated pasture was significantly higher. So my goal now is to have clover year round for the chickens. The only way I can do this is with annual clovers. This year Roberto and I have experiments going in the field with three different annual clovers and a mix of all three. We will compare the results and our hope is that by increasing the clover input into the diet of the girls we can further reduce the soy that we feed them. At the last calculation they were getting 7.5% of their diet as soy compared to regular organic chicken feed with 30%.