Pastured poultry is a technique used by farmers to keep chicken on the farm instead of locking them up in a house. It has several advantages such as the birds have stronger bones and their meat is more nutritious and delicious. The fertility of the land also increases. It is not only chicken which are raised this way. Other birds found in domestic places are also kept such as ducks.
Free range style of raising chicken was in use a couple of decades ago. Its popularity has been increasing in recent years. Birds are allowed to feed from open fields. At night they are kept in a house where they are protected from predators. Dogs are sometimes used to offer protection. This method prevents overcrowding and allows the animals to exercise which makes their bones strong.
Electric fencing has been used to contain farm animals like goats and chicken. It is easy to move and install. The fence needs to be about 42 to 48 inches high so that the birds do not escape over it. They can also escape through it if the spaces in between the wires are too big. Thus these gaps should be tiny.
Such fences are made of wires that are supported by strings which are perpendicular to the ground. The wires are electrified. An energizer is used which receives its power from electricity, a battery or a solar panel. Vegetation should not contact the fencing as it reduces its voltage.
When keeping a flock of chicken, a coop is a good structure to use. It can be moved to a fresh patch thus providing the birds with fresh food without allowing them to roam all over the open land. This structure helps to confine the birds’ activities to a small area.
Fences can be used with chicken tractors to raise a flock. The fencing allows the birds to roam in a restricted area while enjoying fresh air and sunshine while the shelter provides shade against the scorching sun as well as a resting place at night.
A chicken tractor can be made large so as to accommodate a lot of domestic birds. The roof can be partially covered so that the structure offers both shade and sunshine. The open part should have a mesh so as to keep these farm animals inside the shelter. When relocating, the unit is carried as one as opposed to when using a coop with a fence where both have to be moved. Its main disadvantage is that if offers little room for exercise.
Egg laying chicken can enjoy fresh air and vegetation and still lay their eggs while on the field if kept in egg mobiles. The structures can be moved and have boxes in them where eggs are laid. They are moved into fields where cattle have been grazing. These places have plenty of food such as larvae found in the cows’ droppings. The birds scatter this manure as they feed and soil fertility is enhanced. This method also helps in reducing the fly population on the cows.
These are some of the methods used to raise pastured poultry. They are modern and some of them can be used in suburban areas. Some are good for a large flock while others are appropriate for a small one.
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Author: Celia HallThis author has published 202 articles so far.