I'm going to make a rotating pasture

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AnnEliza, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. AnnEliza

    AnnEliza New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    So I've decided to build a rotating pasture and need help deciding on square footage in the pasture. I plan to build up a coop out of part of my unused corn crib, and have a little area that leads into four different sections of pasture, and rotate the four areas. My goal is that the chickens will have very little feed, and be 90% pasture fed. However, in all that I have read I haven't found how many square feet per chicken is recommended in such a set up. Can anyone point me to links or have any advice?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Scaredstiff

    Scaredstiff Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2012
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    I'm actually planning on doing the same thing. This site set me on my chicken adventure. http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp I honestly don't remember if they have a square footage recommendation, but they do have a time period recommendation of one week out of four for each pasture. I would think it's a bit of guess work based on the amount your breed and even individual chicken eats.

    I know that most people prefer to have 10 hens to one rooster, though, if that helps in your selection at all.
     
  3. AnnEliza

    AnnEliza New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    AH, I LOVE that articlee! I had planned rotational before reading it but it sealed the deal for me. There wen't any recommendations on it, much to my disappointment.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    If memory serves, and I'm not at all sure it does, ideally you'd give each bird about 40 sq ft of pasture, depending on the quality of the pasture. You might try reading some of Joel Salatin's writings.
     
  5. AnnEliza

    AnnEliza New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    I will do that, thanks!
     
  6. TomGallopavo

    TomGallopavo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The largest that you can afford...
     
  7. swamy

    swamy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2011
    We currently are running 34 SQ/ft per bird in a 4 "pasture" set up for our standards. The biggest factor is the weather. When you are getting good growing conditions and plenty of moisture, the birds won't keep up with the growth. Occasional string trimming may be needed.

    When we get into late fall and the dry period all the runs will show some stress and overgrazing. We combated this with some luck....coop was built with a well and gravity pump nearby. We used hose and some cheap sprinkler heads to keep things growing. Without irrigation on the pastures we would be going into winter with 4 beat up runs.

    During the winter we keep them in one run (partially covered) and basically sacrifice it. Late Winter, early spring is a good time to frost seed pasture mix on the other three areas. Once growth reaches 6 inches we start them through rotation in the spring. We started off with a 10 day rotation and that was good as long as growing conditions were decent. 10 days gives 30 days of rest to each pasture which is ample for any interseeding to take hold and poop to break down to acceptable levels.

    I would make the areas as large as possible and be sure to have access to all areas for a wheel barrow, tiller, etc.

    Good system, very happy with it...got the idea from Joe S's information.
     
  8. AnnEliza

    AnnEliza New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Thanks, Swarmy, that is very helpful information. I need to read up on what to plant in their pastures...I'm hoping Salatin's book has good info on that! I'm very excited to get started.
     

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