Chickens like to be outdoors on pasture, eating bugs and fresh grass. They quickly pick over what they can reach, however, and need to be rotated onto fresh grass frequently so that the pasture can rejuvinate itself. The portable chicken coop is a great solution to this problem. Chickens are moved onto a fresh grazing area each day, and they apply their manure to different areas of the farm without any need for human or machine labor to spread it.
Our broiler chickens are raised in these portable pens. Each morning we move them onto a fresh plot of ground and they get very excited about having new green forage to eat. As these photos show, they come forward when the pen starts to move, as soon as they can see the yummy new grass to eat.
|Our pens are built for fewer chickens and are smaller than the chicken tractors made famous by Joel Salatin. His 10×12 portable pens are typically moved by a tractor or other vehicle and house 100 birds in each tractor. Ours can be moved by one person, and have a narrower footprint so that we can move them around our orchard, where the paths are planted in clover (one of the chickens favorite treats).|
Why is it called a chicken tractor?
The chickens scratch up the surface of the ground looking for bugs, and take down any plants growing there, so having the chickens on a plot of ground for the day is a little like running the tiller. In this photo,you can see the difference between the perimeter area that is still green grass, and the ‘tracturd’ left by chickens from the day before. The grass is effectively mowed, but will grow back.