En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - November 21, 2013

From: New Caney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and eventually sheep (very long time horizon for the sheep). It has a large area of direct sun, but is mostly wooded and will become a multi-product small orchard (3.5 acres). I'm just getting started and would like to begin improving the soil naturally.

ANSWER:

From HenCam.com What to Feed Your Chickens:

"What chickens eat and what chickens should eat are not always the same thing. Chickens are omnivores. That means they’ll snarf down just about anything, or at least try to! I’ve seen a hen catch and slurp down a snake like spaghetti. I’ve seen a chicken snatch a toad by it’s leg and all of the other hens go in a raucous chase after it, only, at the end to discover that a toad is not good eating. Chickens also eat less exciting foods, like vegetables, fruits, flowers and grass. They eat grains and seeds. They scratch the ground and find bugs and specks of things that we can’t see.So, the question isn’t really what chickens eat, but what the right diet is for them."

"From Ask.Com What Do Rabbits Eat?:

Pet rabbits should be fed on rabbit food in the form of mixtures of flaked cereals and pellets are a convenient way of feeding pet rabbits. Wild rabbits spend a lot of time nibbling and chewing at hard fibrous food and their common meals is grass."

From Ask.com: What do Geese Eat?:

"Geese are herbivores, which mean that they eat only plant products. They eat grass, grain, wheat, beans, corn, and rice. They also eat plants that grow around lakes and bodies of water."

From Sheep101:

"Mostly sheep eat grass, clover, forbs, and other pasture plants. They especially love forbs. It is usually their first choice of food in a pasture. A forb is a broad-leaf plant other than grass. It is a flowering plant. Forbs are often very nutritious. As compared to cattle, sheep eat a greater variety of plants and select a more nutritious diet, but less so than goats."

Okay, we have belabored the point and we know that sheep are a long term plan, but what will the Habiturf seed be long term? Grasses.

So, now let's go look at our information on Habiturf.  First, follow this link to the Wildflower Center's website on HABITURF: A Multi-Species Mix for North, West and Central Texas.

So, there is your first problem, right there in the title. Montgomery County is deep in Southeast Texas, with totally different climate, rainfall and soils from North, Central and West Texas. Now, go down to the paragraph on sowing the seed:

"Sow the seed — the small, hand-cranked seed broadcasters are great or by hand — and rake and press with a garden roller or your feet. Seeds need good soil contact. Spring is the best sowing time once soil temperatures warm up (day time temperatures constantly above 85F). Later in the growing season also works well but will require more water.Sow the seed — the small, hand-cranked seed broadcasters are great or by hand — and rake and press with a garden roller or your feet. Seeds need good soil contact. Spring is the best sowing time once soil temperatures warm up (day time temperatures constantly above 85F). Later in the growing season also works well but will require more water."

The seeds will be sitting right up there on top of the ground; easy pickiings and scratching for chickens. Whatever does manage to come up will be dessert for the rabbits.

You will also note that this grass will grow in up to 50% of sunlight a day. The wooded areas, including around the trees you are planning, will probably be too shady for this grass. Habiturf is an attempt to create lawn grass for hot, arid areas. What you need is probably a pasture grass, or to separate the spaces for animals and lawn by a very good fence.

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Winter-interest plants in Wynnewood PA
July 11, 2010 - Could you please suggest flowering plants that provide winter interest after drying out (ie with seed pods or interesting dried flower heads)? I'm looking for something that grows in full sun. Thank ...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers on company property from Aquasco MD
April 04, 2014 - Our company wants to plant wildflowers on our property. How do I know how much seed, what type of seeds, how to care for, how to plant, basically everything? Finally, we hope to find use some deer-r...
view the full question and answer

Latest time to mow bluebonnets from Chappell Hill TX
February 13, 2014 - The past few years, my bluebonnets have been overwhelmed by tall grass. I could have solved this by mowing later, but I was always afraid of mowing new bluebonnet plants. When is the latest time I can...
view the full question and answer

Weak flowering on rosa minutifolia from San Diego CA
July 27, 2013 - Hi, I have a Rosa minutifolia and has been doing great, but when it gives flowers the petals fall too fast, only last a day or two and also the fruit never forms completely and finishes drying so I ca...
view the full question and answer

Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
July 02, 2014 - I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the ot...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center