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Why grow Sea Oats, also commonly known as River Oats, as duck (or chicken) feed? Well, in the journey to being more sustainable, it becomes far cheaper to be able to grow as many foods for your food forest birds as possible. But more on that later, let’s hop into growing this sustainable, perennial grain source in your edible landscape, homestead, or farm.
Where To Plant Sea Oats In The Edible Landscape
Rivers Oats aka Sea Oats is one of the most shade tolerant grasses that will still continue to grow and thrive in even the deepest of shady spots. This gives it the ability to be planted in nearly any space that is in need of a mid-height, grassy plant. The additional benefit of Sea Oats being so shade tolerant is that you will not have to sacrifice your “human harvest” plants in order to grow a sustainable grain for your edible landscape ducks or chickens.
Sea oats are tolerant of both dry and boggy soils so they work well for areas that may flood during heavy rains, as well as areas that don’t get too much rain or other watering. Sea oats can also be used to stabilize the edges of a natural, unlined pond as they will do well in the wetland areas around a pond, lake, or stream, and have deep reaching roots to add structure to the surrounding soil of those water beds.
Benefits of Direct Sowing Sea Oats Seeds In The Edible Landscape
Direct sowing River Oats in the edible landscape during the rainy season has been a lot less work than buying 37 River Oats plants and digging 37 holes. It’s also a lot cheaper to spend $5 on two or three hundred River Oats seeds than whatever the varying cost would be to buy the plants.
Since the plants will be quite small for awhile when they are started from seed, they are more likely to be looked over by your sinister ducks or chickens, which gives them a better chance to get established before your food forest birds start tugging on them. Of course, you can help that process along by adding mini greenhouses to the seeds when you sow them to prevent them from being dug or pulled out from hungry and voracious birds.
Plant As Many Inland Sea Oat Plants As Your Edible Landscape Will “Allow”
The more Sea Oats you have, the more oats (grain) you will have for your feathered friends throughout the cold season when lots of other foods they typically forage on are unavailable. Unlike a lot of other things that ducks and chickens may like to eat, I’ve found that feeding them oatmeal and oats fills them up a lot better than the raspberries and figs they swipe from the bushes and trees in the edible landscape. Oats also have the benefit of being high in fiber which is good for their digestion to help keep providing daily fertilizer to your plants.
Additional Benefits Of Growing River/Sea Oats In The Edible Landscape
River Oats Provide Additional Humidity For Other Crops
Sea Oats Act As A Tall-Growing Ground Cover In The Food Forest
Not only will such a tall-growing plant provide plenty of places for your ducks to hide in, ground covers also do wonders at helping to preserve soil moisture to make rain and irrigation last a lot longer in an edible landscape.
Inland Sea Oats Create A Wonderful Environment For Moisture-Loving Grubs That Ducks & Chickens Love To Eat
River Oats Help To Prevent Erosion Of Beaches...and Duck Ponds
As a rhizome-type grass, one of the biggest tasks Rivers Oats is responsible for is protecting the shorelines on beaches from erosion. If these lovely plants can lock in a sandy shore, imagine the magic they can work on your duck pond, which will need as many rhizome-producing plants hugging the edge to keep it from eroding. One of the best things about River Oats–and rhizome producing plants– is they tend to be far more resistant to the vigorous tugging and nibbling of ducks, once established, that is.