We have a project which consists in raising hens for eggs in a cool temperate ocean climate (South of France) in an area which associate market farming and agroforestry. We are looking for some information about the number of hens we have to raise to be able to remunerate one person, paddocks size to provide enough food, …
Does anyone have a business model for a paddock shift system in order to raise hens for eggs in a Paul Wheaton style ?
As with most things permaculture, you're going to have to suit the specific model to your specific situation. Your market forces in the south of France are different than ours in different parts of Canada, and what the market will bear can differ greatly.
One way you can look at it is in terms of ecology and system health. You might need to ask locally how many hens can be freeranged locally per acre, and depending on the state of your land, then cut that figure in half.
The other thing to think about is the regrowth rate after grazing. Many models suggest that a thirty-day regeneration period where a paddock remains untouched is necessary for proper system health. I know that you can select for faster-maturing varieties, but really, what is needed is to take the amount available for paddock shifting and divide it by at least thirty, and then determine how many chickens can be on that spot for how many days. Should they take two days to graze the area, then increasing the stocking density or increasing paddock size and accordingly reducing the number of paddocks could be considered.
Considering what you're looking at, I would suggest you read Mark Shepard's Regeneration Agriculture, and maybe look into Joel Salatin, for his chicken and livestock wisdom.
You can also throw ideas and numbers up on this thread, where the membership will do their very best to nail something down with you. But whatever you decide, good luck, and keep us posted.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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posted 1 week ago
Thank you very much for your answer, Chris.
I have some difficulties to find information locally because no one is doing this in our region.
I can provide you more information about my context: in total, we have 2,5 acres available for raising hens in a climate 9b USDA. There will be a lot of biodiversity because we will use a permacultural way.
We would like to know if it is possible to remunerate one person with this approach.