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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Broilers at 6 Weeks

It is fun to watch animals when they are let out on pasture from being cooped up inside a building. On a visit to Holland in the springtime, I watched a herd of dairy cows let out in the pasture after being in the barn all winter. They ran around and kicking up their heels and it looked like they were playing. Each morning when I let the horses out of the stalls into the pastures they race each other at a full gallop for a couple of minutes. It was they same when I put the broilers out on pasture this week. They jumped around and flapped their wings and you could tell they were very happy to be out of the stinky chicken coop and onto the beautiful green grass.

Nathan building the pasture coop for the broilers.


ChristyACB said...

They look like they are having fun. Little do they know...;)

marisa said...

Very interesting Dale. How many do you have left from what you started with?

Dale said...

We started with 50 chicks. Seven have died. So that is fairly high mortality. In the commercial broiler industry, they lose 1-2%. So that is why I am not opposed to commercial farms for broilers. Their chickens seem to do better than mine even though they are the same breed.

Julie said...

Will you keep the chickens inside the coop when you move it down pasture? I'd love to see a how-to video of that!

Dale said...

Here is the process of moving the pen. We disconnect the water bucket and set it aside. We remove the feed bucket. Two people move the pen, one on each end. We pick up the pen a couple of inches and slowly move it 8 feet to new grass. The chickens are getting use to walking with the pen although there are always a couple that we have to shoo to keep moving. After moving the pen we put the feed bucket back in and fill it. We hook up the water bucket and fill it. One person can move the pen by picking up the lead end and dragging it but you have to be more careful not to pin a chicken under the trailing end. Some people with these types of pens devise a dolly or wheels to make it easier to move by one person. But in addition to raising chickens, we are raising children and we want to work with them so two of us move the pen. We are moving it twice a day - in the morning and at night so the chickens can spend more time on fresh grass.

I will do a video of a move.

Mike said...


I was wondering what the impact to the grass is?

Positive, Neutral or Negative.


Dale said...

The impact on the grass is very positive. The chicken litter has all three macro nutrients that grass needs - nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It also has micro nutrients grass needs. The chickens leave behind a layer of this "fertilizer." After a rain or irrigation washes the fertilizer in, lush green squares of grass show where the pasture pen was a couple of weeks before.

Mike said...

Very well planned. Size of the pen - to the yard - to the number of days - to the number of chickens, with a positive impact on the lawn.. I'm extremely impressed with the depth of this entire concept!

Mike F.