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Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by Carl Eckhold, Jun 12, 2017.
Do ducks or geese eat winter rye? In the young plant form and the seed once it heads out?
We started planting annual ryegrass for waterfowl browse last year. The geese and wigeon loved it. Now as far as eating seed, it is just now starting to mature so there are only wood ducks around that might eat it. I would think by the time migrants would return it would have been consumed by other wildlife or resprouted. I am sure they would eat it otherwise.
Sorry. Cereal Rye. Not Rye grass. Two separate plants. We grow the most of the worlds rye grass, perennial and annual here in Oregon. But very little cereal rye. I am hoping to use it for ducks and geese as well as elk and deer. I have read that white tail deer love it. Here we have black tail deer and Roosevelt elk. I am hoping that they will graze on it and because of its aggressive growth and it will feed them and any waterfowl that want to graze on it as well. Then if I let it go to maturity it will seed out the following year and I can leave it standing and maybe the birds will feed on the seed when it falls down the following summer. Kind of a 2 year annual you might say. Plant in the fall next to the duck pond, it grows like winter wheat, then matures in the following spring and summer, let it dry out and die, falls down by mid winter for seed availability, then disk that spring and plant something else maybe.
One of the best hunts I ever had was in a flooded rye field on public land. Second day of the season. No one had found it on opening day and I had struck out Sunday morning. Refuge guy asked me if I'd seen all the mallards dropping down the evening before. I said yeah. Pointed me in right direction. Went out Sunday afternoon and shot mallard and sprig plus 3 geese. All they had done was mow one strip straight thru the middle. Ducks poured in
down here its a fall crop so matures early summer. Not sure about up there where you are at.
Thank You for your input guys. The last couple of years I have planted corn on the perimeter of my pond with good success with the ducks wanting to feed up into the corn when it is freezing. But my main problem is the elk. They like corn also. They don't destroy all of it unless it is sweet corn, but for all of the work that goes into planting and maintaining a nice stand of corn it is a pain when you go down to look at the crop and the elk have knocked a ton of it over just by walking through there and then eat the ears a week before they are mature. Don't get me wrong I like filling my elk tag each year but if I can find a crop that the elk like but can withstand grazing and walking traffic I am in.
What about barley?
I tried barley a few years ago and the elk destroyed it. It wasn't hardy enough to take the beating. If I had more area to grow more of it, it would probably be fine. A fence is in my future I am sure but for now I am trying to find a moderate solution to give all of the animals something to eat. This year I planted a couple acres of soybeans for the elk in another area, so hopefully that will keep them occupied so the corn I have planted will mature.