Pasture Model

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by davidchickens, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. davidchickens

    davidchickens In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2012
    Alright, I asked a question similar to this a while back, but I didn't have as much information and I have a slightly better plan now (I think!). I've measured out an area about 160 by 120 feet (I measured in such a way so the margin of error is greater than 160 by 120, not less, so I'm safe!). I've divided the area mentally into twelve seperate slots. Each of these slots would be a 40 by 40 area. Keep in mind the total area is 19,200 sq ft. One third of one acre is 14,520 sq ft. If I had one 160 foot role of electronet, I could make a 40 by 40 area. Every week, I would move the net to the next 40 by 40 area. I would cover every other area before returning to the first.

    Keep this is mind. I live in Texas, so we have longer warm weather (hot in summer!) weather. I live in a very low, grassy, wet area. There are many trees. Once a single 40 by 40 area was used, it would not be used again for 77 days, over two and one half months.

    Below is a model.

    With about 100 chickens, would this be sustainable. What I mean is, would the chickens completely destroy everything, or would it remain fairly green.

    Remember, ultimately I'm trying to find the best way to house aproximately 100 chickens in an area a good deal over one third acre. Is this, in itself, and unrealistic goal?

    Any answers (whether they be positive, negative, neutral, or even useful!) will be appreciated!

    40 Feet Long

    40 Feet Wide


    This = +/- 96 chickens

    16 Squ. Feet Per Chicken (approx.)

    Coops are moved weekly

    77 days for each section
    clear of chickens (about two and one half months.)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    It sounds like it could be workable, but I can't speak from experience. Looking forward to what others post.

    One suggestion is possibly 2 rolls of fencing, so you can keep the birds contained while setting up the next section.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    When you say wet: what do you mean? Standing water after a rain? Standing water when it hasn't rained? that would be my only concern. I believe an acre is 200 x 200 s.f. I assume that you will also be providing a formulated feed? If the ground has good growth, I'm guessing that they wouldn't strip it in a week. My biggest concern is your mention of wet conditions. That increases the risk of disease and parasites in poultry. Please keep us posted about how your plan goes for you. We're all learning here!
  4. BonRae67

    BonRae67 Songster

    Dec 23, 2014
    I agree with donrae about the 2 fences, and actually it would be 3 months from patch 1 being used to patch 1 being used again. Also it sounds like a lot of work for you every week in the Texas heat.
  5. davidchickens

    davidchickens In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2012
    By "wet" I mean after a rain for (several days) there are areas that, if I step on them (I'm 280), I'll make an inch or two imprint into the ground. This is mostly in the winter months (late December to February). During the summer it's fairly firm (it is soft soil, never very dry, but dry enough to walk firmly on). The grass is also very green, particularly in the summer.

    Edit: Yes, I intend to feed them pre-fab feed (layer pellets) to their hearts content. I just wanted the pasture so they have a more balanced diet, the extra egg benefits, buggs in spring, and perhaps a slight feed cost decrease.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would think that 100 chickens in a 40' x 40' area, between their scratching and hot(high nitrogen) poops, will kill the grass pretty quickly.
    Might depend on what kind of vegetation is there and how it holds up to that kind of traffic.
    What about summers, does it dry out? That could play a big part in the vigor of the vegetation.

    You could move the fencing before letting them out of the coop in the morning.

    I'd start smaller, like with fewer chickens, and see how it goes.
    Do you have chickens on that land now?
  7. davidchickens

    davidchickens In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2012
    No, I've been working on this plan for a future project. The grass back their doesn't dry out. It's really good grass. Maybe starting with fewer would be a good idea...
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    It will be interesting to see how this works. If it's good, tough established grasses it may be able to handle that many birds. You would also have the option of moving the birds more frequently if the wear and tear got too bad. I think you've got a longer recovery time than you really need.
    You might look into the book Pastured Poultry Profits. I don't agree with his stocking density and some other things, but the man knows how to care for his grasses, that's for sure...
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    Ground will be over-grazed and over-scratched. Area per bird approximates my mobile pens. Grass species differ and weather as well as soil conditions can play a role. What you will see quickly is the plants surviving will be dominated by those not palatable to the chickens. More frequent moves with fever birds advised. Also be be prepared to re-seed each paddock after birds moved off.
  10. matt44644

    matt44644 Songster

    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan

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