- Animals: poultry
- Animal Production: housing, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
I did a project last year. The name of it was “Grazing Goats.” I raised my 4-H goats by using the movable-pen grazing method. I used cattle panels to make a pen and then every 3-4 days I would move it to new grass for them to graze.
After doing this – I thought maybe I could do something like this with my chickens.
Goal #1 – Raise healthy poultry
Goal #2 – Find a cheaper way to feed my chickens
Goal #3 – Give the chickens more “open-range” to move
Goal #4 – Create a “haven” for my chickens
The first thing I did was prepare a space in our backyard (pasture) to put my poultry. I built a “house” for them to live in and used poultry netting to make a pen. I enclosed the pen, except for one little opening where the birds could go out and in. This enabled them to eat the grain and food that I gave them, but it also allowed them to go out and find food on their own.
I thought this would save me quite a bit of money by not having to feed them all the time. I always had feed and water there for backup – but most of the time they would go out in the pasture and eat.
This approach worked really well and my chickens (and ducks) grew rapidly and were very fat.
Irene Graves – County Extension
She gave us pointers on what grains were important.
Darrin Utlecht – farmer
Helped as a chicken consultant
Craig & Sabrina Waldron – friend
Helped build the pen
Shelley, Jedd, Spens Schlicht –
Helped care for and helped build pen.
Personaell at farm store –
Helped pick out chickens.
The results were great! Our chickens did very well at the county and state fair. They were healthy, happy, and quite friendly.
I figured in the end it would be a more economical way to raise chickens and it was! We saved a lot of money on feed.
The only change I would make is to make more laying stations in our “house” and tell the neighbors to keep their cats and dogs home!
I learned that by putting poultry out to pasture, we can use more of our natural resources. The chickens would eat the plants and things in the pasture that the horses, goats, and sheep didn’t want. They also spread “fertilizer” all over the pasture by walking around.
I did not actually raise the chickens for profit. I used them for 4H and pets. If I had been raising them for profit, I think I would have made some because it didn’t cost that much to feed them and they really grew big so I could have sold them for money.
I think this project also helped with social responsibility. It taught me how to take care of my animals and make sure they were not bothering other people.