Raise, Process, and Enjoy Pastured Poultry
You can grow all the chicken you need for a year or add a profitable pastured poultry enterprise to your farm. Through this series I will take you through the process of growing, slaughtering, and cooking your pasture raised chicken. This is just the story of my life every summer. I am a full time farmer in Western Connecticut. I have been doing this for years now and I know that anyone can start to raise broiler chickens on grass.
I am taking video every single day that I have a batch of broiler chickens on my farm. I will split the birds up after the brooder and raise one of my full production batches of 240 birds out on pasture and a smaller homestead batch of 25 birds in my front yard.
Chicken Tractor Plans
Build your own chicken tractor.
Don't have a chicken tractor (broiler chicken shelter) yet? Don't worry, I got you covered. I have been raising broilers in these chicken tractors for years and so have many others. Step 1 is to check out the book.
Pastured Poultry Packet #1
Calculate the real price of raising broilers.
What is it going to cost you to get started raising broilers and what is it going to cost you for each bird you raise? We have created an easy to follow step-by-step guide to determine the viability of raising poultry on pasture.
Week 1: Chicks Arrive
The first week I get chickens over-night in the mail to my local post office. From there they come home to spend the beginning of their little chicken lives in the brooder. There they will be kept safe, warm, well fed, and with plenty of reading board games. While anyone can do this at home it pays to get a little advice from someone who has raised thousands of chickens.
Week 2: Life In The Brooder
This week the chicks are still in the brooder but they're growing fast. Track the progress and see how I adjust for the different variables while raising 265 chickens.
Week 3: Chicks Move Out To Grass
The birds are finishing up in the brooder. At this point they're feathering out enough to move out onto grass and live their lives on pasture. I make a determination on when to move them based on their size, their feathers, and what the weather is going to be like. Moving chickens out onto grass is one of my favorite tasks on farm.
Week 4: Fields Chores
The chicks are adapting to life out on pasture. They are now moved long once a day so they always have fresh grass and bugs to eat in the morning. They're still small so some escape the chicken tractor as you move it but they learn in time. I cover mortality, effect on grass, and predators.
Week 5: Let Them Eat Grass
The birds are used to moving with the chicken tractor and morning chores are getting really enjoyable. Each morning you get to see the birds eagerly search for crickets and grass-hoppers and nibble on clover and plantain. it is amazing to watch them grow day to day!
Week 6: Feeding Grain
Chores are a breeze. Every day we move ten more feet through the lawn or pasture. The birds are sizing up and taking full advantage of the sunshine and fresh air. The checkerboard of manure that they leave behind will fertilize the grass making it that much better for the next batch of chickens.
Week 7: Why do this?
The birds are getting big at this point. We move to two-a-day feedings in some cases and these little dinosaurs love to forage. They are leaving a heavier amount of manure behind which is great for the ground. You really get to see the benefits of raising chickens this way. Make sure your chicken feed is stocked up!
Week 8: Processing
And now the moment we have been working for. There's nothing wrong with celebrating the life and death of our food. In fact, the closer our relationship with our food the more we will come to appreciate it and search out even better options. These will be the best chickens you have ever eaten!
Review the Numbers
Does raising pastured poultry make sense financially? Yes, it does!
I have compiled broiler chicken resources including:
- Free Downloadable PDFs
- Backyard processing videos
- 40+ Videos on raising broilers
- Recommended Books
- Pastured Poultry Packet
- Broiler Video Course
1 Million Chickens
It is my life's goal to feed people healthy and delicious food. I got into pasture-based systems for the politics and I stayed for dinner.
I want to raise a lot of chicken but I cannot do it alone. You can help be part of the change.