Pasture Perfect
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Michael putting chicks on pasture in chicken tractor

Out of the brooder into pasture and sunshine!

It’s always a bit of a gamble, spring chicks going out onto pasture in early April. We’re several days ahead of the usual date to get them out, but this weeks calls for mostly sunny and warm days so we’re taking the risk. We  can feel the birds are ready to move out of the brooder at about 2 weeks old and when the weather cooperates we love it. We’ve been hardening them off to cooler temperatures day by day inside the brooder. This will make the shock of being outdoors somewhat easier for them to endure.

                                                                                Visitor admiring chick

They change instantly once they get outdoors. They perk up, gain immediate interest in everything, snatch the first visible bug, scratch around, and after all the excitement,  a peaceful nature washes  over them like they are home! The sunshine must feel good! It’a natural disinfectant and tonic to poultry They love to sunbathe. Michael and I made certain we gave them a smooth transition. We have 500 more arriving on April 5th Thursday. Hold on! The season has begun!

Home sweet home!

First chicken tractors of the season

Polyface chicken tractors are perfect in their own way. But I’m must admit I’m very curious about tractors for our garden. Tractors that (I) can move! Something light and easy for just a few chickens or ducks to fertilize our garden. There are endless designs out there. I’m looking for something possibly with wheels but safe enough to keep predators at bay. It’s exciting to consider all the options as I browse through books.

Fava Beans in the garden (High Mowing Seeds)

Right now in the garden we are seeing signs of fava beans, onions, potatoes, peas, spinach, asparagus, and sunflowers, strawberries, and worms! We’re look forward to this season’s harvest.

Willow Tree in bloom

 

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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."
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6 Responses to Pasture Perfect

  1. Elias Hickman says:

    I love these photos. Especially the Willow tree.

  2. Charles says:

    Grace,
    Loved today’s blog. Makes me want to go home and start raising animals. I love the pictures. Keep them coming.

    Charles

  3. I remember when everyone had some sort of backyard chickens, ducks, horses, sheep, cows, etc projects going when I was a kid in the 1960s and that was in the urban bedroom districts just on the outside of the central city of San Diego. Of course times have changed and I imagine that laws were created or are on the books and some nieghbour would likely complain. The chickens and ducks I can remember kept all the bugs and other insects down.

    I created a native plant woodland garden for my mum before I left the states and moved here to Sweden and I am a firm believer in planting strawberries (Chandler , Hmmmm) in a woodland type setting since the reality is that is where they are native to anyway. I’ve had the same production of berries as I would have had I planted them in full sunlight in a row garden setting. The only difference is that I did have to deal with sow/pill bugs who wanted the berries also. I always have the woodland garden full of mulch on the ground everywhere as that is how it would be in nature, but the critters love making a home of it there. Oh well, just a little trade off. She still gets lots of berries and the plants look so natural under all those trees and the other woodland plants. Oh and BTW, I never use any fertilizers or pesticides. I inoculated the ground with multiple biodiverse strains of mycorrhizae and benefical bacteria since that is my background anyway.

    The only real effort in that garden is replacing the mulch regularly. The ground is so healthy and alive with microbial and insect critter activity that the mulch is eaten up in no time at all. The results show in the trees and shrubery. All that broken down carbon gets fed back into the system in the form of thriving folliage above the ground. If you know of any tree trimmers, they will be all to happy to deliver free mulch that they chip. Out in California they have to pay a dump fee to drop the trimmings off and take it off their hands. I supervised a landscape division of a property management company for 4 years before I left and though they were a bit skeptical at first when I explained my methods, they gave me a try. I really miss that job.

    Thanks for the article. Chickens as pet projects and yard maintenance should be a must if you are able. I lived 24 years up in the mountains on the edge of wilderness in Southern California and we had many nieghbours using their goats for land clearing and yearly maintenance. There are definitely ecological alternatives to conventional so-called scientific agricultural applications which work far better in the long run if you truly understand how to use them.

    Thanks again, Kevin

  4. J cowan says:

    We are a bout 2 wks ahead of schedule with our Chicks.How fun it is to see them run around from the other chick when one has a worm or bug .

  5. Sarah Emily says:

    I love watching chicks explore their new outdoor home. We won’t be moving our 150 chicks outside till next week as we are having a cold snap here in PA.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Due to the unusual and exceptional spring, our first batch went out March 15th. They were clearly bored in the brooder and happy to be in the pasture. I love happy chickens.