At this time last year, I was trying to source field peas as a soy replacement to feed to my chickens. The only places I had any luck finding these peas were feed companies that stocked them in the spring for planting. I can’t find anyplace in Michigan to buy these peas at any other time of year.
From living in the South, I think of “field peas” as black-eyes, white acres, cream peas etc. I’m pretty certain that the field peas being referenced as livestock feed are different. The best I can determine is that the livestock field peas are the same as the dried split peas sold in the grocery store. Great news! Now I can experiment.
I put some split peas out in separate containers for the chickens and ducks. I didn’t want to mix it with their grain because it would be harder to tell if they were eating it. They turned up their collective beaks and bills at it. I left it there for a couple of days; they showed no interest. I soaked some for a couple of hours and boy were they “fragrant”. Maybe the smell would attract them. The ducks dove right in. The chickens also ate some, but weren’t as gung-ho as the ducks. They ate them better the second time I put them out. By the third day, all the poultry was eating split peas without hesitation. Next, we will see if they will now eat them dry.
I dug around online and found a couple of resources for anyone who is interested. One is a small book that was published in 1911 that contains information for using field peas as livestock feed. You can read the book at this link. “Something For Mother’s Dinner/Peas and Pea Culture”
This is a bit of interesting information about returning to using field peas for feed in Northern Michigan:
Field Peas for Northern Michigan
The next step is ordering enough untreated “seed” from my feed dealer to carry me through a year. Some will be fed and some will be planted to see how practical it is to grow and how much space it requires to feed my birds all year. If I have the Super Worms in full swing, I’ll need to grow less of the peas.
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