Pasture poultry can be defined as a mechanism or method of raising poultry for the purpose of meat, pastured eggs or just for pleasure by making use of some pasture management system. No matter which form of poultry system you plan to use, you would initially begin by bringing up the chickens making use of the conventional methods and then slowly move to the top three modern pasture systems, details about which would be given below. But before we go to these systems, there are some benefits which should be pondered about the use of the pastured poultry in different settings for raising chicken on pasture or for grass fed chicken.
The major benefit of these systems is the low levels of capital investment required for carrying out the job. In other words, most of the people are able to launch such systems with minimum amounts of investment, but for better results it is always better to make use of the advanced modes of raising chickens. Secondly, the production systems initially appears to be small, but if you are able to carry out the production in a more strategic manner, then indeed the business will grow by leaps and bounds. Other benefits include a chance and potential for some extra income, an increase in the fertility levels of the soil and a strong demand from the side of the consumers who would be in search of the conventional as well as modern pastured fed chicken.
The Chicken Tractor System
It is the most common system that is used for the purpose of raising pastured chicken. The birds that are brought to use in this system are mostly the ones with the age range of about 3 to 5 weeks. Furthermore, the pens used for this purpose are called chicken tractor. These special floor less pens are moved for once or twice on a daily basis for the sake of giving access to the birds to the fresh vegetation that surrounds them at all times. There are also some high levels of researches and scientific evidences that have pointed out the various advantages and merits of making use of this system.
Day Ranging System
In this system, the birds are settled in yards for the time being only and by making use of a semi-permanent pen. In order to offer them with an opportunity to roam in the surroundings they are opened once or two times per week. Moreover, some of the easiest electro netting mechanisms and systems are brought to use here. The netting is manufactured by different companies for the purpose of offering the pasturing chickens with some electrification around them which can come in handy in terms of safety for the animals and for a number of different reasons.
Free Ranging System
Here we have another system that allows the birds to move around freely in quite an open environment. But in the evening there is a place where the birds are retuned regularly. The system is high common in terms of being used for the egg type chickens and birds. You would be easily able to make this system on your own. For example, you can make use of some old cotton vehicle or wagon for the purpose of converting it into a coop so that the birds may return to it for laying eggs and during the evening time.
In almost all of the system, a number of pen designs are used. You can make use of different designs that are now widely available in the pasture poultry markets. But at the time of selecting a specific design you should consider a number of factors and dimensions which include:
- Mobility: Always select the design that is easy to be moved from time to time.
- Durability: The pen design you select must be able to endure all forms of weather changes that take place from time to time, as it is vital for the health of the animals.
- Access: Always ensure that the design offers the maximum levels of access to you at times when you need to carry out different chores.
- Cost/Construction: You can find some inexpensive materials in order to put the pen together.
- Protection: The prime disadvantage of the chicken pasture system is the threat that the predators and other animals pose to the chickens, for which it is best that you go with a design that is strong and efficient in offering some resistance to such attacks.
Breeds of Chicken
The breeds of the birds and chickens also help you in knowing about the pasture poultry system that would come to be of the most use. For example if you are in the process of raising chickens for the sake of meat, then the commercial and related types of meat strains would be the best. Other breeds like Rhode Island Reds and some others can be used at the smaller farms. So, it is always best to use the system that is best suited for the type of pastured raise chicken you plan to accommodate.