Here’s the thing about raising animals with rotational grazing methods… you have to keep MOVING everyone!
All the time!
So, yesterday was moving day for the layers and the piggies. Everyone is always so happy to have new pastures - turns out the grass really IS greener on the other side!
We are trying something new with the broiler chickens. They are in mobile “tractors” that we move every morning, giving them fresh grass to eat and bugs to catch. This is the standard method for pastured broiler chickens. But we’ve been thinking that maybe they could graze on a larger paddock and go into their tractors at night, similar to our laying hens. So Brian set up electric net around the tractors and we opened up the doors and let them out. Reviews are still mixed. Many of them came out and wandered around delighted with the extra space and sunshine. Others are perfectly happy to stay in their familiar surroundings, thank you very much. Stockholm syndrome comes to mind - they’ve been in those tractors for a month now. Bringing their feed troughs outside encouraged the hold-outs to venture forth.
We did find that mixing birds of different ages was a no-no. The one tractor of 15-week birds was doing some serious bullying of the younger birds. So we rounded up the bullies and put them back into their tractor. No pasture for them! Come back…. uh never…. it’s well past time for them to go to freezer camp truthfully!
So we will continue to monitor this experiment and see how it works!
Jennifer and Brian