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Rotational Grazing or Alternating Yards?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WestfarthingHomestead, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. WestfarthingHomestead

    WestfarthingHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found this thread on the topic-
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=356156&p=1

    I was wondering why I don't read more about other people doing this. It sounds brilliant! Maybe you do, but haven't mentioned it. I'm planning on it, as where we want to move to there's just too many predators to safely free range.

    Basically, I'll have my coop and then have at least two chicken yards attached to it. The chickens will be allowed out into one yard at a time. When the one yard starts getting hammered down, that pop hole gets closed and the new yard is opened to them with fresh, clean grass and other goodies in it.
     
  2. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    PAsture management is ALWAYS a good idea. Helps keep plants healthy, allows for clean plentiful food, and most importantly reduces the stress on the feed source. Good pasture management is quite possibly the most important aspect of raising healthy animals that were originally designed to roam free on hundreds of miles of open ground. We use three for our cows. Our chickens have free range of about 15 acres.
     
  3. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Actually there are quite a few people doing this already. You will find many of them under the meat bird section, and they rarely venture out.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Rotational grazing also reduces the pathogen level.
     
  5. WestfarthingHomestead

    WestfarthingHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very cool mobile hen house, by the way.[​IMG]
     
  6. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Thanks. Currently the houses are next to the dairy barn where they are easier to care for. Just took these pictures less than an hour ago. They won't see pasture again until April or May. Even included a picture of a few hens that I have been told are barebacked, stressed and frostbitten due to housing my birds at two square feet per bird.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  7. twentynine

    twentynine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Recent photographs of the "run" pictured in the linked thread.

    Okay! This is the situation as seen in the photos. Two pictures the first one is prior to grazing the second one is post seven days of continuos grazing.

    Explaining the issue. I intergrated 10, 4 month old pullets to my existing flock (10 chickens). The first step was to move the tractor that housed the pullets into the run. To do this I had to open one of my partitioned grazing areas, allowing the 10 older chickens uninterupted grazing. After two days I opened the doors on the tractor alowing the chickens to intermingle. I left the tractor in the run until Monday of this week (3rd day) then removed the tractor.

    So I have a 200sq ft area planted with rye grass, rape, mustard greens, turnips and red clover. To sumerize, 200 sq ft, 10 chickens for two days uninterupted, then 20 chickens for an additional 5 days uninterupted.

    Before ------

    [​IMG]


    After --------

    [​IMG]

    Pretty dramatic. My usual grazing plan is 1 or 2 hours per week per partition. So with two grazing partitions the chickens are grazed a total of 4 hours per week. In my experience with the size partitions I have (200sq ft) they can not sustain any more grazing pressure.
     
  8. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Actually, taking the plants down to the ground is not the best idea. If you let them graze for a day, then let the area recoup for a couple, graze recoup... you will get a much greater sustainability of pasture area. We don't rotate chickens per say, but with our cows we ran 28 on a 7 acre piece of ground all summer, we just did not let them eat everything to the ground. We irrigated through the cows, which they did not care for much, but al in all we only had to supplement when the weather cooled down and the calves had some weight on them towards the end of the year.

    Long story short, if you can allow your pasture to regenerate, the feed time increases exponentially, not linear.
     
  9. WestfarthingHomestead

    WestfarthingHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great feedback! Thanks![​IMG]
     
  10. Clay Mudd

    Clay Mudd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:+1.
     

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