Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

Rotational Chicken Pasture Update

10/22/2012 10:16:50 AM

Tags: chickens, pastures, fence, plants chickens eat, mulberries, fence material, temproary fencing, cherry, , Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton

rotational chicken pasture summary and update

We kept our first set of chickens in three small coops we could drag to fresh ground every day. Some folks call this a chicken tractor while other use the term chicken ark. It worked okay and felt better than a stationary coop, but we eventually noticed how badly a chicken wants to forage and came to the realization that our few square feet of space was not good enough.

The solution was more space, but we didn't want chickens scratching up our garden or pooping on the porch, so we decided to try rotational chicken pastures. We tried both temporary and permanent fences and settled on a combination of the two.

Temporary fences work good for the chickens we are planning to eat because they just need around a month of fresh ground and the green plastic material was easy to set up and move. A temporary corral around a fruit tree will have the added benefit of fertilizing the ground or what some people refer to as top dressing.

Putting up permanent chicken fences is not as hard as it sounds if you choose the right material. I settled on 5 foot high chicken fencing that sells for just over 20 dollars for a 50 foot roll. The low price was the main deciding factor, but ease of handling was a nice bonus. Metal fence posts are what we used for support, and they can be found in the 3 to 5 dollar range. 

Once you have the enclosures in place you can start putting in plants chickens like to eat. Mulberries can feed a flock of chickens for a few months in the summer with very little effort. Cherry plants are another crop we've been experimenting with on these lines but have not seen any fruit so far. Maybe next year.

In my opinion rotational chicken pastures are the best way to go if you have the space and time. Once you have a system in place the work should get easier and fun and your chickens will be healthier by allowing them to live a more natural chicken life.

Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton are enthusiastic about chickens. They've been making a new type of chicken waterer for several years now that keeps water clean and poop free like the industrial poultry operations use. They support their homesteading habit by making and selling these waterers over at AvianAquaMiser.com   



Related Content

Photo of the Week: Kid on the Farm

Play on the farm in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you cou...

Foil the Fowl

Painted rocks can prevent chickens from pecking away at your food plants. A Country Lore tip from th...

HOMEGROWN Life: Perennial Pastures, for Those In-Between Times

HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates sings the praises of mixed-species perennial pastures for in-betw...

Tiny Birds and Tall Grasses

One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and the...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.