Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grass Farming Attempts

You've probably heard of Grass Farming: the practice of carefully managing grass so it can be used to raise healthy animals.  Joe Salatin of Polyface Farms is one of the most visible faces of modern grass farming; his pastures support cows, chickens, pigs, and rabbits, in an inspiring cooperation that nourishes the animals (and those who eat them) and improves the land.  Many small-scale farmers and homesteaders have adopted this method to improve their own properties.

The title "Grass Farming" is a bit of a misnomer in my case.  Where I live, most people don't have lawns (I don't think I personally know anyone in my area who owns a lawn mower), just native scrub.  I never really cared about this before, but having chickens has done something funny to my brain.  I see every blade of grass in my yard as potential egg-enriching nourishment for my birds.  Last weekend, while visiting family in a suburban area, I couldn't help but see every beautiful front lawn as a perfect spot to park a flock of chickens for a while.  If only I had their grass...

This is my grass.  Not exactly enough to nourish a flock of chickens.

Here is yet another example of doing what we can with what we have.  My chickens, sadly, can't eat delicious grass as often as they want.  They would completely destroy the grass that we do have.  But I cut some grass for them almost everyday, and a few times a week, they get to come out and run free in the yard.  I am hoping their droppings will help improve the soil and encourage the growth of new grass in the next few years.  I try to keep the most noxious invader weeds at bay, and when I water the garden, I let some fall on the grass as well.  That's about all I can do at this point.

As I investigated grass farming for this post, I came across a review of a Bud Williams article on Grass Farming - the review itself is so-so, but comment that follows is particularly informative.  If you're interested in grass farming and the positive impact it can have on our health and economy, you should read the comment.

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