so how big of a paddock if i only run 4 layers and no meat chicks?
Paul Cereghino wrote:
I suspect that a 20x20 pasture might have much less value than a 20x20 shrubland with berries above and wood and mulch everywhere, undersown with clover and mustard
John Polk wrote:
The figures I have seen indicate 40-50 chickens per acre for sustainable use.
(I "round it off" to 43 chickens...equal to 1,000 square feet per bird...all year, every year.)
Anything above that, and they will begin to deteriorate the land...eventually it would be useless for anything. Besides them eating the foliage, their manure could make the land too rich for seeding/sprouting if they are kept too long on any given piece of land in higher concentrations.
I have seen backyard operations where the birds had turned the entire yard into a mud pit within a few months, Several years later, (after the chicks were gone) not even the weeds would regrow there.
John Polk wrote:
I believe that if you can keep them off of a paddock for 3-4 months it serves several purposes. First, it gives the vegetation a chance to grow back strongly, able to withstand the next onslaught. It allows the nitrogen to be absorbed into the root systems and deeper soils. And, just as important, it helps break the cycle of diseases and pests. The mites, lice, worms, etc can only survive so long without a host. By keeping your birds off of the land for a complete life cycle, you have effectively reduced chances of future infestations.
the meat birds were in a 8'x10' pen moved daily and the turkeys are now in the same pen now that the chickens are in the freezer. the laying hens are in a moveable tractor and moved daily.
Lolly K wrote:I am assuming there is a ramp door leading through the floor into the coop? The posts are stationary and the fence is attached with wire-ties or such? Is there any problem with getting the fencing close enough to the ground to keep the birds in on the hillside?
Your photo has given me more encouragement to at least try to raise birds in the woods rather than pasturing them in chicken tractors on flat ground.