Foraging and fertilizing their way around the field.
Our pastured broiler chickens (Cornish-Cross) are raised in 10’x12′ bottomless shelters which are 1/2 open air and 1/2 covered roof. These shelters give protection against predators and the elements while still allowing the broilers to forage for grass and bugs. The pens are moved daily to optimize the broilers’ foraging and natural fertilization of the pasture. The broilers can forage for about 15% of their diet and are supplemented with a locally milled, corn-and-soy-free feed ration for the remainder of their nutrition.
In the fall we also raise pastured turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday. The turkeys spend their first few weeks on pasture in the broiler pens until they are large enough that aerial predators are not a threat. Then they are moved out of the pens into a setup which uses electrified poultry netting to ward off ground predators and moved to fresh pasture every few days. This allows the turkeys to run and jump around freely, as they are very apt to do. They are able to forage for a greater percentage of their diet (about 40%).