Who would ever have thought chickens could grow this fast? Less than a month ago, they were the cutest, teeniest, sweetest little chirping things. Time can be most unkind, even to chickens!
Moving day had arrived and out of the brooder house they went. All 400 broiler hens were gently carried a few at a time, riding on fresh hay in our used-for-everything portable kennel, out to pasture to finish their days roaming the green grasses, chasing bugs and doing whatever chickens in all their glory desire to do.
From birth to harvest, Yonder Way Farm animals are always happy!
Even though the broiler pasture is enclosed with "hot" wire netting with only rare hawk sightings and other predators (raccoons, coyotes, etc.) not being a problem, some shelter was needed for night and temperature protection.
Farmer Jason built four mobile "coops" for our flock. The coops are mobile because every day we pull them an additional 12 feet forward. Our hens never roost in yesterday's poo. They also have free roam of the entire pasture. At no time are they confined inside the coop.
Something you may not know about Farmer Jason is this... he is very orderly. It is a gift that serves all of us well here on the farm and one for which we are most thankful.
What does this mean in terms of chickens going to pasture?
Let's do the math. There were 400 broilers and 4 chicken coops. Diligently and methodically, Farmer Jason counted each chicken as he gently placed them inside the door opening. Each coop had exactly 100 chickens, not one more and not one less.
How long do you think they remained 100 birds per coop? HA! We no sooner had turned our backs but what those unruly hens were seeking residence in someone else's house!
Evidently, they had so many residential options, they couldn't decide in which house they wanted to sleep. The first night those silly birds, all 400 of them, laid down just outside the coop door openings. Using "pirate vision" (more to come on that in a later post) each hen was carefully placed back in the closest coop. Eleven o'clock at night, out in a dark pasture putting 400 chickens in a coop, no one was counting to 100 at that point.
The second night, not as many opted to camp out. Again, each was placed back in the coop. Within a few nights, they sweetly mosey'd back under their little tin roof before roosting quietly. Thank goodness!
Come about end of November, these broilers will be ready for harvest.
What happened the afternoon after these broilers went to pasture? MAJOR BROODER HOUSE CLEANING! A new batch of 400 day-old chicks arrived the following morning. In another month, they will be moving to pasture as the first group reach harvest weight. This will give us a total of 800 broilers to add to inventory.
There will be plenty of chickens for everyone!