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Ideas for Poultry Management with only 1 hour per day

 
Kevin Gant
Posts: 15
Location: Oklahoma City
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My situation is that my farm land is 45 minutes away. While there I spend up to 4 hours working on things and then come back home for the day.

I'd like to have a flock or two follow my pastured pork around. They seem to leave a lot of food behind which I believe the chickens could utilize.

What kind of poultry management should I go with? Should I just get a number of hoop style coops and run 10 chickens in each one moving them around each day within the paddock. Ideally, I'd like to be getting an egg crop from these birds as well.

What design would work best? What would the stocking density be? My paddocks are roughly 100 x 100 feet.

Thanks.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I would not be comfortable suggesting any type of pen to keep the birds in if I lived 45 minutes away.

Should something happen that I could not make it out there to check on the birds then they would be stuck in the pens, with no access to fresh water.

There could be any number of scenarios or accidents that could lead to the birds being confined for 24 hours or more without anyone checking on them.

Now if the birds were free range, and had a house to go to with roosts, possibly surrounded by electric wire, where they could get up to a safe place, that might be a more comfortable situation for them.

Also my birds used to free range in paddocks as small as 100x100 feet, they cleaned that out in a day and then left that paddock.

I would be interested in hearing what type of solution you come up with as I like the idea of having the birds follow the pigs around.
 
Kevin Gant
Posts: 15
Location: Oklahoma City
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The only thing I could think of initially would be a pen similar to how some people do pastured chickens like Darby Simpson's hoop as seen here.

I could do one pen with broilers but would like to have several others with layers. The hoop would have water and supplemental feed inside. The layers pen would most likely be stocked less densely than the broiler pen. I'm guessing 10 per pen but need to look up stocking rates for layers.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It would have to be VERY predator resistant (including 2 legged kind). That leaves a lot of time to dig under anything. We probably spend 10 minutes a day on the chickens, but we are here as a deterrent to predators.

Keep the density LOW, have enough water and supplemental feed for a week+ just in case something happens and you can't get there. This can be a problem in the winter, but when you are downsized to a small layer flock you can usually keep a little water thawed in the coop or hover.
 
Kevin Gant
Posts: 15
Location: Oklahoma City
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Let me give a little bit more information and clarity.

I will be at the property everyday tending to animals. The land is 230 acres with a year round creek running running through it, which the coyotes use to travel from pasture to pasture. There is 1 great pyr and 1 rat terrier there that have so far proven to be good deterrents.

I have 10 pigs there now with more on the way. I'm there everyday feeding them and checking on the 2 goats. I'd like layers but won't be there in the dawn to let them out and won't be there at dusk to lock them in but am there in the afternoons for several hours.

So, it looks like my best option is to just have a low density hoop style pen that has their food/water. And probably moving them daily. Sounds like I should also have a bit of electric hot wire out the outside near the bottom to prevent anything from digging under.
 
Natalie McVander
Posts: 63
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My first thoughts after, "Yay! Good on you for thinking of multiple ways to overlap your farming goals!" are:

Your pigs may root underneath the tractors. Maybe. Maybe not. You'll find out.
Chickens can go through a lot of earth in one day - for a chicken tractor that you can easily move by hand, I'd not put more than 3 or 4 hens in.
Are your pigs free ranging over the entire pasture every day, or are you rotational grazing them?
If you are rotational grazing them, the turf might be too rough for the chicken tractor to lay flat against the ground.
Pigs can be good watch dogs. It's possible predators (especially the horrid weasels and raccoons) will not get real close. Unless your particular pigs could care less. LOL

 
Kevin Gant
Posts: 15
Location: Oklahoma City
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Natalie McVander wrote:Are your pigs free ranging over the entire pasture every day, or are you rotational grazing them?
If you are rotational grazing them, the turf might be too rough for the chicken tractor to lay flat against the ground.
Pigs can be good watch dogs. It's possible predators (especially the horrid weasels and raccoons) will not get real close. Unless your particular pigs could care less. LOL

Pigs are rotationally grazed inside an electric netting. I over seed with forage crops a day or two before they leave the paddocks and then also fill in any wallows they've created.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Don't spread yourself too thin here.

Raising crops can be a part time job, but the whole picture changes with livestock.
Especially with multiple species, tending livestock is not a part time job.

The less time that you spend away from your critters, the higher the chance of success.

 
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