Monday, January 30, 2012
Siberian Peashrub: a Non-GMO Livestock Feed Alternative
While researching field peas as a protein source for poultry and hogs, I stumbled across the Siberian Peashrub (caragana aborescens). Further investigation convinced me that this shrub would provide solutions to a couple of problems on our homestead that we'd love to correct.
The first and obvious problem is finding plant-based alternatives to GM soy to provide adequate protein for our animals. Reading the following sentence sold me on the value of this shrub for feeding chickens and ducks. "During World War II, the Siberian peasants reportedly carried their chicken flocks through the winter feeding the seed of one small woody pland, Caragana arborescens." (Snell, 1983).
Even though we are 150' from the road, we hear and see a fair amount of traffic. Which brings us to the second problem, privacy. Growing 6-12' tall with an equal spread, the Siberian Peashrub is large enough to serve as a buffer between us and the road. In fact, one of its uses is as windbreaks for farms and fields.
It is fast growing, cold and drought tolerant, tolerates poor soil and begins bearing in 3-5 years. The shrub has food value for humans, livestock and wildlife. The leaves can be used for dying my wool to a lovely azure color. The shrubs is widely used as windbreaks and screens. It is perennial and fits well into a permaculture or forest garden design. I think I've found the perfect plant.
What do you think?
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers--With information on building ... feed, and working with poultry in the garden
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