Determining Proper Feeder Space Requirements for Pasture-Raised Laying Hens and Broilers

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2018: $9,566.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2019
Grant Recipient: Codman Community Farms
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Peter Lowy
Codman Community Farms


  • Animals: poultry


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, feed management, free-range, grazing management, grazing - rotational, pasture fertility

    Proposal summary:

    We aim to determine the proper linear feeder lip space requirements to attain maximum productivity for both laying hens and broiler chickens raised on pasture. Linear feed space guidelines from the industry and feeder manufacturers provide inadequate guidance with growers often unsure if they are attaining maximum productivity of their stock due to inadequate or in some cases, overabundance of infrastructure. This research aims to better determine appropriate linear inches of feeder space for broiler chickens and laying hens raised on pasture to ensure high productivity and profitability without under or over resourcing a farm operation.

    We will document the projects progress through photo and video content on our website, hold on-farm field walks, and present our findings at local and regional farm conferences.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    To determine, as close as possible, the appropriate linear feed space requirements to maximize the productivity of broiler chickens and laying hens raised on pasture. For our purposes, the definition of appropriate means that birds are meeting or exceeding industry standards for productivity: Laying hens are laying at or above their expected rate of lay while maintain health and vigor. Broiler chickens will be meeting or exceeding carcass size based on breeder growth charts for the particular breed in production. With productivity goals being met we aim to determine the minimum amount of linear feed space needed to reach this maximum productivity. Maximum productivity will then result in healthier and more robust livestock and higher net income for the grower.

    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.