Free-Range Egg Production – Comparing Production Using Stationary Housing Versus Portable Pasture Housing

Project Overview

YNC08-010
Project Type: Youth
Funds awarded in 2008: $400.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:

Commodities

  • Animals: poultry, sheep

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization

    Abstract:

    PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
    A. BACKGROUND
    [Before receiving this grant, were you involved in any sustainable agriculture activities? If so, briefly describe them.]
    Yes, I was. I assisted my family in raising sustainable, pasture-fed, products, such as lambs and meat birds.

    B. GOALS
    My goals were to learn of any benefits or disadvantages of the two productive models, and their effects on the environment of our farm and to the profitability of my egg business.

    C. PROCESS
    1. Buying a used wagon gear.
    2. Build a small henhouse on the wagon frame, with nests inside.
    3. Raise new layers from baby chicks.
    4. Move new layers, when mature, out to pasture in new portable henhouse.
    5. Analyze results, and compare to traditional system.

    D. PEOPLE
    My parents and family members assisted with this project. I received building design suggestions from Paul Rohrbaugh, fellow pastured poultry producer.

    E. RESULTS
    The results were very positive. Inclement fall weather reduced the amount of time that poultry could remain in the pasture. In the future, I would start with year-old hens.

    F. DISCUSSION
    Rotational grazing: moving birds to new areas allows them a cleaner environment.
    Nutrient management: This model allows for more even distribution of the manure.
    Small-scale poultry production: This method is sustainable and profitable. I direct market eggs locally and at the Farmer’s Market.
    Organic Agriculture: Hens do very well on our organic pasture

    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.