After researching sustainable farming practices, the crew at the farm decided to test pasture-raised chickens. This practice yields better tasting poultry while also using sustainable practices. Wyatt has spent many hours researching pastured raised chickens and has modeled the system after Joel Salatin. The chickens are raised in the Salatin chicken tractor.
The chicken tractors are moved daily to give the chickens fresh pasture and bugs to eat. Chickens are not able to survive solely on a plant based diet, so we supplement their diet with feed, free of anti-biotics. The feed is a corn-soybean mix packed full of all the vitamins and minerals the chickens can’t get from the grass.
The chickens get rotated through the same pastures as the cows. The larger number of cows just move at a faster pace. The chickens are intended to follow the cows in order to keep the insect levels low but the cows seem to follow the chickens more often than not. Despite not meeting the goal of insect reduction, the chickens do a wonderful job fertilizing the pastures. The high nitrogen content of the chicken waste produces greener grasses and healthier pastures.
Originally, we were going to raise a small batch of Cornish Cross chicks to test the viability and profitability of the process. We planned to raise only 50 chickens the first year. The Salatin process produced great results for the farm’s grass and demand for the chicken encouraged us to eventually process 450 - 600 chickens throughout the summer.