Scaling Up Our Pastured Poultry from Backyard to Commercial

| 7/23/2015 9:57:00 AM

Tags: poultry, pastured meat, backyard chickens, New Hampshire, Kristen Kilfoyle,

Hello everyone! First of all, I would like to apologize for not writing a blog post sooner. Hopefully the title of this post explains the reasons why I have been seemingly missing in action…

Since I haven’t written in a few months, some of you may forget who I am. Just kidding! (Sort of.) Anyway, last summer while I was interning for Joel Salatin at Polyface Farm (read my posts from that experience here), Dan held down the Sugar River Farm fort back in New Hampshire. While working full time, he also managed to run a coop of meat chickens and rotated five pigs through pasture.

Preparing to Raise Chickens Commercially

Through the generous support of friends, family and neighbors, we sold pretty much all of our product and planned to ramp up production now that I was back from Virginia with a brain full of relevant knowledge.

Then came the spring and it was time to build coops. Over the winter, we managed to secure a contract with an up-and-coming company in Massachusetts to raise chickens for them. This company essentially makes agreements with local farmers to raise animals for them following their pasture-based, humane handling model, specific to each type of animal (beef, pigs, chicken, turkey and lamb), which they then deliver to their customer’s homes. This company ended up pre-ordering a significant amount of chickens per month from us, which necessitated the building of six new coops.

Chicken Coop Design for a Commercial Operation

Chicken Coops 

In coop design, we deviated a bit from the traditional Salatin-style chicken tractor, making the footprint 10 foot x 12 foot as opposed to 10 foot x 10 foot. Instead of being a low-profile shelter, ours look more like a mini hoop house.

7/26/2015 8:48:16 PM

Looking good Kristen! It's great to see that you are on your way. As a fellow New Hampshirite seeing your progress gives me inspiration to keep plugging away at the dream of getting paid to do what you love.My business partner and I (IT professionals by trade) got bit by the farming bug a little over a year and half ago. It's been an obsession ever since. It's a slow ( and sometimes expensive ) process but we love every minute of it. Thanks for the inspiration !

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