We just moved our layers from the summer pastures to their winter pastures (up on a hill, sitting 50 feet above the bottom fields, offering better drained soils). The winter pasture was grazed by both chickens and pigs last winter and then planted with wheat and sunflowers in the Spring. We brush-hogged the field last week and were left with a variety of wheat/sunflower seeds whole, sprouting, and sprouted. The photo below shows what the field looks like.
You can see some clumps of wheat that has dropped and begun to sprout following some early fall rains. Also visible is alot of straw stubble and straw chopped up on the ground… this was left on the field to stabilize the field during the winter months where the chickens and chicken trailers will have some impact.
I’m generally pleased with the outcome of this crop-rotation experiment. The wheat yield was somewhat low and wild turkeys/squirrels and various birds harvested most of the sunflowers. Next year, i’ll sub-soil the field since i suspect compaction from years as a sacrifice pasture impacted growth. However, right now, the soil has a nice mulch layer and should stabilize over the winter, allowing us to keep the chickens outside and there is a decent quantity of feed on the ground for the hens, supplementing their usual ration.