Raising poultry on pasture requires care, attention, planning, and continuous improvement.
In researching methods of raising a laying flock on pasture, I kept coming across a wealth of knowledge and resources from the same source: The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA)
We happy to announce that we are now members of APPPA and will be working to continuously sustain and improve upon our methods, practices, and flock.
An update on our flock
Our first pasture currently has 4 chicken tractors, each housing 10-20 birds. These enclosures each have a 164ft electrified fence providing 1,680 square ft of outdoor space (per 10-20 birds) = 84-168 square ft per bird.
Each fenced enclosure can be moved independently; we are using the placement currently to help create and widen existing fire defense lines. Once the rain begins (hopefully some time before January!) the enclosures will move again to work the south west side of the first pasture.
The pictured enclosures in the foreground will be moved in the next few days to beyond the back two enclosures to continue clearing out 40' wide fire lane.
This is a job best done very early or late in the day, with the current weather forecast set to be above 100F in the coming days!
3 of the 4 enclosures are occupied by "pullets" (a female chicken not old enough to lay). All of these pullets will be laying between now and December (Barnevelder pullets take a long time to start laying).
In the brooder stage, we have 56 chicks under the age of 4 weeks. These birds will start laying early next spring.
Our latest chicks include some breeds that are known for being very hardy and tolerant of heat. Were hoping these will help reduce the "heat factor" we observed in our egg collection counts over this summer.
Over the last 10 weeks we've started building our custom poultry management software.
Flock Happy helps us keep track of all our animals, projected laying dates, feed consumption, egg colors, and eventually breeding records.
Flock Happy also powers a unique QR code per egg package that shows our customers information about their eggs, including which of our hens could have laid the eggs and what color eggs each hen lays.
Thanks for reading, enjoy our eggs! Be sure to come say hello at the Plymouth and Sutter Creek Farmers Markets this week.