When growing Water Hyacinth as a sustainable flock feed, to keep your homestead, edible landscape, or garden birds fed in a healthy, closed-loop way, it is ideal to be able to start growing these quickly propagating plants before introducing your flock, so as to have time to get it established before your birds begin destroying it. As ducks and chickens will eat the entire plant, both the greenery and the roots, it becomes necessary to have them growing in excess of the amount that they can eat on a daily basis in order to not run out of this healthy source of greenery.
Always Keep A Backup Stash of Water Hyacinth Growing In A Place Which Your Chickens or Water Fowl Have No Access To
As your flock grows, assuming you don’t sell off any chicks that are hatched or don’t only have hens in your homestead flock, they obviously will eat more. They also will not be thinking about saving snacks for tomorrow. Anything they have access to today, will be eaten today.
With that said, I have setup a number of small fish tanks near sunny windows inside the house so that I always have water hyacinth growing in a place where my runner ducks can’t eat it, as they have full access to the duck pond. To replicate my simple system, you need only to set up leak-proof containers that are large enough to comfortably hold fish based on the size of the fish and the recommended tank size for those fish and follow the rules of the Walstad Method using water hyacinth as your floating plant layer.
I personally keep corydora catfish and minnows in my fish tanks as goldfish, although quick-growing and easy to keep, eat the roots off the water hyacinth, which prevents them from growing as quickly as needed to feed my runner ducks. If you have larger fish tanks, you could try larger catfish as a means to grow more food for yourself while using the fish waste to grow greenery for your farm flock.
Only grow your water hyacinth in a contained environment because it is considered invasive and can have devastating consequences if it enters rivers or ponds
Water hyacinth is indeed one of those plants that, once established in its watery home, can literally duplicate itself overnight. It does this due to its amazing root system which has full access to water and sucks nutrients right out of the water column. This is a very useful feature for balancing your fish tanks and keeping the water clean for your underwater inhabitants. Not so much for your city’s septic system where the water hyacinth will feed on the waste water, grow at an astronomical rate, and clog up sewers and capture passing boats, block sunlight from submersed, water-oxygenating plants, and choke out underwater dwelling creatures.