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Pen sized for pastured broilers on a rotational program

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

I'm trying to plan out raising CornishX on an intensive managed rotational grazing system. My only problem is figuring exactly how much space each batch of birds (125 - 150 per batch average is my estimate) will actually need on pasture. I'll be operating under the 1,000 chickens/year exception on my small farm.
I'm also still figuring out when my optimal growing season would be, probably from March or April to November. They would also be fed fermented feed - which I'm also still researching - and would be put inside at night. 

 

For instance, would a 1/4 acre be too little? Too much? At 125 birds that comes out to about 87sqft per bird. At 150 birds that's 72sqft. I read somewhere that 40sqft is considered optimal for pasture? I'd be wanting to processing roughly one batch of birds each month.


The birds would be spending 1 - 2 weeks in a pen before moving on to the next, allowing that first pen to rest and regrow as the birds are scooted around for the 5-6 weeks they'll spend on pasture growing once out of the brooder. 


Still got a ways to go with my planning and I got a couple pastured poultry books on my wishlist I plan on buying but I'm excited for the future. I raised a couple CornishX up this year and they were delicious, I think a well managed pastured poultry program could be very sustainable for the farm. 

post #2 of 2

Your math doesn't seem that far out of wack from my experience.  We have just over  1/4 acre set aside for our broiler birds.  Our pen is stationary.  We found that the grass doesn't get enough of a chance to regrow fast enough with 100 birds running around over it all the time.   Next year we intend to move the broilers into mobile tractors in groups of about 40 to 50 in each unit.  The tractors will then be moved across our field each day.   The 1/4 acre pen we will dedicated to "finishing" the birds at their final 1 or 2 weeks before we put em into the freezer.   It means I will probably have to re-plant the grass a few times as we cycle the birds through-man can they mow down the grass!

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