What is Pastured Poultry?
Are you confused by all the labels chickens come with these days? So are we. At SLAP Farms our definition of pastured poultry is simple — it means our chickens and turkeys spend the majority of their lives on fresh, green grass. From the time they leave the brooder until the end of their lives, they live on grass pasture — all day, every day.
For our meat chickens, this means they live in chicken tractors. A chicken tractor is a floorless, portable structure — 10 feet x 6 feet — that provides shade, rain shelter, and predator protection for 25 to 30 birds. The chicken tractor is moved each and every day to a fresh piece of pasture that has not had chickens on it for at least six months. This means the chickens get fresh grass, worms and bugs to eat each day, along with their balanced non-GMO grain ration. It also means they aren’t standing in their own manure, which can lead to numerous health issues. And it means their manure is spread across our pastures, fertilizing the grass, and improving the health of our pastures.
For our laying hens and turkeys, we also use chicken tractors to provide shade and rain shelter as well as nighttime predator protection. But from sunrise to sunset, the laying hens and turkeys are free to roam within a large area outside their tractors. This area is enclosed with electrified poultry netting to protect them from ground predators. The tractor is moved around within the poultry net every day to distribute their manure more evenly across the pasture. About once a week the tractor and poultry netting are moved to a fresh section of pasture that hasn’t had any poultry on it for at least six months.
By moving our poultry and resting our pastures we are ensuring we’re not overloading our land with excessive nutrients in any one location. We’re also allowing mother nature the needed time to sanitize the pastures ensuring our poultry stay happy and healthy.
Interested in seeing how our pastured poultry operation works? Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a visit — we love showing off what we’re doing.