I found this information on the Greenharvest website and thought it would be of interest to us all. You can buy the seeds of all the plants suggested off their website. I find that my ducks are great in the orchard and in the vegetable gardens as well. Keeping snails and slaters and bugs away as well as providing the eggs and manure.
GROWING YOUR OWN CHOOK FOOD
Keeping chooks supplies you with organic free-range eggs and chicken manure but the other advantages are less obvious. Poultry convert the inedible into the edible, turning kitchen scraps into eggs, reducing the need to compost. If you turn your orchard into a poultry forage system you will reduce your need for fertiliser, mowing and pest control. Chooks are very industrious when it comes to catching insects, particularly fruit fly and codling moth.
It is to your advantage to grow some food for the chooks as this will reduce feed bills and also provide the chickens with a healthy, varied diet. The chickens will be happier provided with both shade and entertainment.
A poultry forage system can be combined with an orchard, simply by placing in amongst the fruit trees, extra plants for chicken forage. The fruit trees will need to be well established before the poultry are introduced to the area, to prevent damage to young trees. Maintain the number of poultry at a level where a continuous groundcover is always present. If the ground is being completely bared, then you have too many chooks for the area.
In urban areas where space is limited then chicken forages can be planted in the actual chicken run, but these will need protection from the chooks and their continuous scratching. Provide protection by placing wire cages around young trees. Scattering logs, concrete pavers or rocks across the top of the root zone of trees will prevent the roots being damaged by constant scratching. Fencing off areas of the chicken run will allow time for plants to establish. If possible, design a system with multiple runs to allow a crop of greens or grain to be grown for the chickens, in rotation.
USEFUL PLANTS FOR CHICKEN FORAGE
VINES FOR FENCES AND TRELLISBanana passionfruit, black passionfruit, choko, grapes, cucumber, beans, climbing spinach
PLANTS FOR SOWING IN ROTATION
Sunflower, amaranth, corn, millet, buckwheat, chickpea, sorghum, wheat, oats, barley, lucerne, clover
TREES and SHRUBS WITH FRUIT
Mulberry, lillypilly or other native bushfoods, persimmon, pawpaw, feijoa, strawberry guava, tamarillo, custard apple, peach, banana (chop up the stems), fig, jaboticaba, grumichama, Brazilian cherry, pears
TREES and SHRUBS WITH SEEDS OR PODS (for larger areas)
Tree lucerne/tagasaste, wattle, pigeon pea
Comfrey, arrowroot, New Zealand spinach syn. Warrigal greens
Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it