Evaluating the Effect of Two Pastured Poultry Rearing Systems of Pasture Health and Carcass Quality

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $8,993.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Mshkode LLC
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Kevin Donner
Mshko'Ode Farm


  • Animals: poultry


  • Animal Production: free-range, grazing management, grazing - rotational, manure management, meat product quality/safety, pasture renovation, pasture fertility
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, feasibility study
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    Pastured-poultry rearing systems are touted as 1) more environmentally friendly, 2) healthier for poultry, and 3) key to creating a more nutritionally desirable product.  However, little scientific work has been completed to determine the validity of these claims, particularly with regard to environmental impacts/benefits and pasture health.  Pastured poultry rearing systems are diversifying and almost no work has been completed to evaluate new and emerging systems.  We propose to evaluate the effect of mobile pen and day range rearing systems on a fallow, unmanaged pasture.  We will determine vegetative species composition, vegetative growth, nutrient profiles, organic matter content in soil before and at several points after pasture is subjected to each rearing system including a control plot.  We will further determine the effect of each rearing system and on carcass quality including growth rate and part development.  Results will be analyzed to determine profitability and marketing potential of each rearing system.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Project objectives include: 1)Compare the yield and functional utility of two pasture-based poultry rearing systems. 2)Determine the impact of two pasture-based poultry rearing systems on soil health, soil fertility, and pasture vegetation in a fallow, relatively nutrient poor field 3)Share findings with local farmers, local land managers, on social media, and with the American Pastured Poultry Association.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.