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Pasturing chickens, etc.

 
Sebastian Mencius
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Hey y'all. I am thinking about pasture/paddock shifting some chickens. I was also thinking of throwing in a few other critters and shifting them around the farm together.

I wanted to put some sheep, chickens, and pot bellied pigs all together in a 75'x75' electro netted pen. Do you think they would all get along well enough together? If not, any ideas on what I could sub? As far as quantities go I was thinking 3 sheep (2 ewes, 1 ram), up to a dozen chickens (2 roosters, rest hens), and 3 or 4 pigs (1 boar, rest sows). I was thinking of having a 50 gallon waterer on a trailer as well as a chicken coop with a roost and a few laying boxes. I would drag it every time the paddocks shifted to the new spot. I have several acres (5+) to play with for this. I would like to be able to move them once a week. The land I am working on is currently a coastal bermuda hay field. I will definitely start planting some other stuff in there too.

It also crossed my mind to cut the chickens in half and put in some ducks as well.

What do you think? Decent idea or my sheep would eat and kill my pigs who would eat and kill all my chickens?

 
wayne stephen
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Maybe they would eat each other . I would be more concerned with putting grazers and rooters together , especially for a week at a time . Would the pasture have time to recover after the pigs turned it over ? How much time do you plan for your paddock rotation ?
 
Sebastian Mencius
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It could easily be a month or longer until I am in the same spot again. Is the issue with putting rooters and grazers together that the rooters will, well, uproot too much of the land before the grazers have a a chance to graze it?
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Yes , the rooters will turn over the sod and eat the grass roots . The pasture will take longer to grow back . A freind of mine tractors his pigs to prepare the next years garden space . He puts two pigs in a 8x8ft pen and moves them daily . They completely turn over and sift through that space in one day . Thoroughly manure it also . They eat the sod , weeds , everything .
 
Paul Ewing
Posts: 127
Location: Boyd, Texas
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In that tight of confinement I would be worried the pigs would eat the chickens. They can get along ok if a larger space where the chickens have some room to escape, but it depends on the temperament of the pigs. The pigs will break in and eat any supplemental feed you put out for the chickens and the sheep will get any leftovers. The pigs will also break in to get the eggs. You haven't lived till you have tried to get a 100 pound upside down pig out of the middle of a metal roll out nesting box. It isn't fun for any involved.

The other issue is in a week four pigs even pot bellies (unless they are the super tiny ones) will completely till a 75x75 Bermudagrass plot to bare dirt. Great if you are trying to get rid of it, not so great if you want to hay or graze it later. Also in that time they will have started wallows which will make tractor work rough. I just disced up an acre that I had pigs in for a month and it was scary on the first pass dropping a tire in a 2 foot deep wallow. It took five passes to get it back to sort of smooth so I could reseed it in turnips, radishes, rape, clover, and ryegrass. BTW, Bermuda isn't great for pig food. The mix I just listed is much better. If you can grow it there, add alfalfa too.
 
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