Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Chickens on New Pasture

Salad up to her knees! They'll have this area looking totally bare in about a month.
Every 2-4 weeks, we move our chickens to a new spot around the farm. This month their pasture is particularly lush. They are virtually swimming in a salad bar of grass, field peas, and fava beans. Lucky ladies! This is our rainy season in California, and thus, our green season.

Rolling coop in a new pasture.
We move them around for a number of reasons. First, it makes chickens happy. They love to eat fresh greens, and the greens in their diet make better eggs and healthier chickens. The only thing they love more than greens is bugs, and they do a lovely job of cleaning up all the pests out of their area. Of course, their manure is an excellent fertilizer, and by moving them around, they distribute it evenly throughout the farm. They even do us the favor of light tillage with their constant scratching and digging.

We built a rolling coop for the purpose of moving the chickens around. Many farmers use electric fencing for pastured animals, but so far we've gotten by using a plastic chicken fencing, about 3 ft tall. It takes us about an hour of work to move them from one pasture to another. It's a bit of a hassle, it seems worth it. 

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