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Optimal grass sward types for free-range poultry

Getting range management right is key to healthy and productive free-range birds and producers need to know the type of sward their hens prefer.

Afbeelding: IMG_Canva-brownleghornfreerangehen-848x565

Mel Digger, ForFarmers seed product manager, said poultry farmers needed to look at 4 issues:

  1. the appropriate species,
  2. the impact of bird ‘traffic’
  3. sward quality and
  4. the height and density of the sward – to ensure their range management was in the right place.

If the grass gets too tall, the carbon levels rise, and it becomes less digestible.

Grasses suitable for poultry paddocks

Speaking at the annual British Free Range Producers Association annual meeting, Digger ran through the type of grasses suitable for poultry paddocks.

Slow-growing perennial ryegrass should form the basis of the ley, but she added the sward should also include diploid ryegrass to boost palatability and smooth stalked meadow grass, which was hard-wearing.

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