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In Cedarburg, we built a large, permanent poultry enclosure. It’s more than an eighth-acre with perennial and annual pasture grasses and paddock separations to manage pasture health. Our laying birds (chickens and ducks) are free-range.
And we added ducks and turkeys!
Our meat chickens are on an open pasture so that they have even more space, more forage, and more bugs -- and we can provide healthy food to more families with less cost.
Poultry Environmental Impact
Of the Land is deeply committed to serving as stewards of the land for our generation and for many future generations of birds and people.
There are several benefits of our no-till perennial pasture grasses and forbs (legumes, cloves, and alfalfa) and the natural fertilizer from our animals.
Sarah led expansion of our urban farm with chickens in the spring of 2010. Before the day-old chicks were old enough to move outside, John the Tall and Grampa built a “tractor” that would give the layers space to enjoy being outside with constraints: it fit in the back yard, protected the birds from the local coyotes and hawks, and could be moved every day. We could comfortably support about 12 chickens in a ecological, healthy manner.
All the neighbors knew or had heard rumors about our chickens! Every weekend that first summer and the next, neighbors we didn’t know brought their youthful relatives to see the chickens.
Over the next few years, we tried several different kinds of layers to identify the best breeds for our weed and bug control, friendliness, egg production, and free-ranging.
After a few years, some family friends allowed us to use a few acres of nearby land with a small barn. After a winter of clearing brush, a spring of burning brush, and a summer of restoring the barn, we started meat birds in addition to the layers.
The chicken pasture supported nearly 80 meat birds annually. We experimented again with what breeds were the most efficient foragers (lower feed costs!), grow the quickest, and have the best quality meat. And we learned acutely about the losses that are part of nature. Unfortunately, the processor nearest us stopped processing chicken, so we can only sell "off farm" chickens processed by us. BUT, we have also learned to grow the best ducks turkeys you will ever eat!