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Would Someone Please Check My Numbers

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Hello Folks,

I'm new here. In the last 4 weeks I've emersed myself into perma, hoogle, and poly everything. It all started when a friend of mine downloaded The Survivalists pod cast on my iPod. Paul wheaton was being interviewed. Then I unwittingly backed into a bunch of Salatin info. I've got my 16 x 40 ft greenhouse almost ready and I can't wait to put a rocket heater in there. Going to get my Soil Cube maker ordered, my sq ft gardens made (for a quick harvest), my Sonic Bloom spray and frequency for my fruit trees, etc, etc, etc,.

Now for the numbers....

I'm very interested in raising poultry and beef the Salatin way. I love Paul Wheaton's article on chickens and have tried to use some of his numbers to come up with a workable plan. I have 10 acres, but I know that I could utilize at least 4 or more acres for chickens. Here is what I've come up with for 4 acres.....

20 chickens on a 100 sq ft paddock would have to be moved once a day.

20 chickens on a 700 sq ft paddock would have to be moved once a week.

One acre (43,560) divided by a 700 sq ft paddock = 62 days.


40 chickens on a 1,400 sq ft paddock would have to be moved once a week.

One acre (43,560 sq ft) divided by a 1,400 sq ft paddock = 31 days.

The electric poultry netting I'm purchasing is 164 feet. Made into a circle, the area would be 3.14 x 26(Radius) x 26(R) = 2,122 sq ft


Going from 1,400 to 2,122 is a 50% increase. Therefore the chicken count would increase 50% as well. We would then add 20 chickens to the 40.

60 chickens on a 2,122 sq ft paddock would have to be moved once a week.

One acre (43,560) divided by a 2,122 sq ft paddock = 20 days.

Not quite enough for a full cycle of 28 to 30 days.


14505 sq ft is needed in addition to the full acre. This is equal to nearly a 1/3 of an acre.

To even everything out, I would need (3) 2,122 sq ft paddocks for an even 4 acres of land that would cycle every 28 days or so, give or take a day.

3 x 2,122 sq ft = 6,366 sq ft

43,560 sq ft x 4 = 172,240 sq ft

172,240 sq ft divided by 6,366 sq ft = 27 days.

Are my numbers correct?
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Some quick thoughts

1) A square is much less work to make with temporary fencing than a circle.
2) How densely you can place your chickens depends on many factors, including rainfall, plant community makeup, ambient temperature, insect presence etc.
3) Virtually all systems are going to be better yielding if you bother to move the birds daily
4) Salatin supplements the feed of his birds with corn that he purchases.
5) Don't burn your self out. None of the gimmicky things you might get for your garden will do nearly as much for its well beings as your face.
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I totally agree that squares/rectangles are much easier to deal with than circles.  Both from a labor standpoint, and mathematically.  If you graph out 100 foot squares over an area, and then do the same with 100 foot diameters, you will see that the circles are not utilizing approx 29% of the area.

An acre of good meadow/pastureland will sustainably support between 40 and 50 chickens (depending on its fertility, and your efforts to regrow it, plus climate).

Raising the chickens is the easy part (they can do it themselves without our help).  The biggest challenge is marketing the chickens.  Unless you are a USDA certified slaughterhouse, you may find yourself encountering many closed doors and unreturned phone calls.

Get Joel Salatin's book (Pastured Poultry Profits) and read it thoroughly.

Keys to making a million $$ in chickens:
   1)  Start with $2,000,000
   2)  Raise chickens
   3)  When you run out of money, eat the chickens.

Posts: 490
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Here's another resource for you -

I am always a bit hesitant about schemes that are based on moving chickens at set time intervals. Moving the chix should be based on the condition of their forage, and that will vary with weather conditions and the kinds of plants you are growing for forage. You don't say what kind of forage you have now, or plan to develop. In my experience, you should have that in place first. Then you can determine carrying capacity on your land under your conditions.

Are you raising chix for yourself or for market? Meat birds or eggs? Assuming you have some decent forage already, I think you should build a movable coop, stock it with about a dozen chix, and take good notes as to what actually happens.

I certainly think that with 4 acres to work with, you could support a reasonably large number of birds, but you need some real experience to extrapolate from.

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I definitely do appreciate the advice. My chickens would be raised for eggs. I will most definitely start out small and study how the paddock works with the 16 chickens I have now. I may in fact try to Paddock my cows (I have 4 cows and 1 bull) and then run my chickens behind them 2 or 3 days later. This should be a really good test for me on my property to see how fast or slow I need to move the animals and if this process really does begin to enhance my land. I still have a lot to read on this. I'm going to purchase two books, Poultry to profits and Grass fed beef, by Salatin. I think that's what they're called. Anyway, that should help tie up any loose ends on my practice. I'm really looking forward to experimenting with a Paddock system. However, I still need two more items before I start.... I need my coop to have wheels or make a lighter coop that can be dragged by a tractor or truck, and I need a guard dog for my chickens. If I don't get a guard dog I'm concerned the coyotes will get to them.
Posts: 113
Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
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If your fence is electrified, you shouldn't have any problems w/ coyotes. We have lots of coyotes around these parts, and raise lots of chickens on pasture, and only lose a bird if it's on the wrong side of the fence.
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Gilmasher, my 10' long 4' wide chicken tractor is very light and doesn't need wheels at all.  It's essentially a box with wire attached to a nesting box.  They aren't heavy at all unless you try adding things like central heating and plumbing for them. 
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