Egyptian wheat, sometimes called chicken corn, was brought to the United States around 1890 as a high protein food crop for hogs and cattle. It never gained popularity for that purpose but game bird managers found it was a favorite food crop for quail, wild turkeys and dove.
Wild turkeys will go to great lengths to get to the Egyptian wheat seed heads. Deer enjoy the seed heads and squirrels will also appear from woodlots to feed on the nutritious seed. Plant it and you’ll see wildlife eat it.
When to Plant
Egyptian wheat can be planted in spring, after the danger of frost, and throughout the summer. It takes approximately 110 days after emergence for seed heads to develop and mature. Even though the seed heads shatter at maturity, for wild turkeys, dove and quail it is best to mechanically knock down some of the plants. Squirrels will climb the stalks and fill up on the seed.
How to Plant
- Broadcast Egyptian wheat at a rate of 25 pounds per acre or a quarter pound per 1,000 square feet. (A 50 pound sack of seed costs about $69.)
- For planting in rows, the rate is 10 pounds per acre in rows 36 inches apart
- Plant the seed ¾-inches deep and fertilize according to the soil test results (The main reason for poor crop development of Egyptian wheat is that seeds are planted too deep)
Use the plot to attract wildlife and take a fall weekend to enjoy a squirrel or dove hunt to see the fruits of your labor.