Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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How much space do chickens need on pasture?

Chickens on an acre pastureAnother chicken pasture question that's been tough for me to answer is --- How much space do chickens need on pasture?  Of course, the amount of space you need per bird is going to depend on a lot of factors including:

  • the size and age of your birds
  • the quality of your pasture
  • whether you want your chickens to get much forage from the pasture or just not scratch the ground bare
  • how often you rotate your chickens from paddock to paddock

But I finally found a starting point from the data in Raising Poultry on Pasture.  One mainstream broiler producer felt that his chickens needed 10 square feet of pasture per bird per week when they were full grown.  In France, the Label Rouge system has strict requirements that amount to allowing 27 square feet of pasture per bird for their broilers (including the time when chicks aren't fully grown and eat less.)  Although the French Label Rouge chickensnumber seems much higher than the American square footage, you should keep in mind that the operation in question didn't rotate chickens between pastures, so the birds' yard really amounted to about 5 square feet of pasture per bird per week for the 5.6 weeks that the chickens were on pasture.

As I plan new pastures for 2011, I'm using 10 square feet of pasture per bird per week as our bare minimum.  I hope to find time to build enough pastures so 99 cent pasture ebookthat we don't have to rotate our chickens back into the same pasture more than once every few months, although I might experiment with shorter rotations --- one week on, one week off --- as well.  I'll keep my eye on the pastures, though, and will consider drastically shifting my plans if the ground begins to look bare.  After all, pasture rotation is really an art, not a science.

Our chicken waterer makes pastured poultry so easy, you might forget about them.

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