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Discussion Starter #1
I'm interested in starting a small broiler grazing operation using chicken tractors, and rent land from surrounding landowners because there are lots of fallow fields in the immediate vicinity of my property. Problem is, most fields here are covered in wild parsnip, which my whole body was glad to make the acquaintance of this summer. :facepalm:

I think I read once that grazing animals with a good amount of wild parsnip n their diet tend to have growth irregularities, or reproductive problems. True? Any other small livestock that tolerate WP more than others?

Thanks in advance!

Q
 

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Well................ a search of the available literature doesn't turn up much that suggests anything more than dermatitis to humans and animals--both with skin contact or by ingestion(of forage or hay contaminated with wild parsnip and showing up as dermatitis induced by exposure to UV light)

The Ontario source does suggest it causes weight loss and reproductive problems in livestock, so you might contact them for more reference.

But, a practical question: how are you going to be able to transport those chicken tractors around without coming into contact with the plant(as you have already found out, it can be quite painful), how would you be able to handle livestock, even chickens, with the substance on their skin, fur, or feathers? And, will the tenant allow you to use any control methods: sprays of 2,4, D or weed clipping? And once you might be able to eliminate the weed, would there be anything else left in the field?


http://www.invadingspecies.com/invaders/plants-terrestrial/wild-parsnip/

http://www.thehorse.com/articles/24548/watch-for-poisonous-weeds-in-hay

I would suggst the land in question would be questionable for pasturing chickens, and that you should seek greener pastures.

geo
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had in mind of removing by hand the large parsnip plants and as much small leafage located in the immediate plot ahead of a chicken tractor, and use a rotational chicken grazing method to keep the weeds at bay. While I know that this method would be initially labour-intensive because of the daily weeding on the first pass, I'm unable to think of another way short of spraying or spot burning to reduce their numbers.

My motivational factor? The "test" field is right behind my lot, and the parsnip is reseeding in my property. Also, the owner appears to be the type that would be glad to have someone control the weeds on his land for a few chickens/year.
 
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