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Regenerative chicken farming

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

Regenerative Chicken Farming

Regenerative Chicken Farming with Rotational Grazing in Chicken Tractors or Eggmobiles for Arid Southern Africa

Rotational grazing of chickens in chicken tractors or eggmobiles is a key component of regenerative chicken farming in arid Southern Africa. This practice involves moving the mobile chicken coops, known as chicken tractors or eggmobiles, to different areas of the farm in a planned rotation. The chickens have access to fresh pasture during each rotation, which benefits both the birds and the land.

Detailed Steps for Implementing Rotational Grazing with Chicken Tractors or Eggmobiles:

  1. Designing the Chicken Tractors or Eggmobiles: Constructing appropriate and movable chicken coops is essential. Chicken tractors are typically smaller, floorless structures with wheels, while eggmobiles are larger and designed to accommodate nesting boxes for laying hens. The design should ensure adequate space, ventilation, and protection from predators and adverse weather conditions.
  2. Pasture Management: Divide the farm into smaller paddocks or pastures to facilitate rotational grazing. The number of paddocks will depend on the size of the farm, the number of chickens, and the desired rotation schedule. The size of each paddock should be sufficient to support the chickens’ grazing needs without overgrazing.
  3. Rotation Schedule: Plan a rotation schedule that allows the chickens to move from one paddock to another at specific intervals. The frequency of rotation will vary depending on factors such as the number of chickens, the size of the paddocks, and the rate of pasture regrowth. The rotation can be daily, weekly, or based on the readiness of the pasture.
  4. Grazing Management: During each rotation, chickens will forage for insects, seeds, and plants in the paddock. They help control pests and weeds while also spreading their manure, which contributes to nutrient recycling and fertilization of the land.
  5. Rest and Regrowth: Allowing a rest period after chickens have grazed a paddock is crucial for the pasture to regenerate. Rest periods give the plants time to recover, grow, and build their root systems, which improves the overall health of the pasture.
  6. Composting of Manure: The chicken tractors or eggmobiles are moved to a new paddock before the manure accumulates excessively. This prevents over-fertilization of the land and minimizes the risk of disease transmission. The accumulated manure can be composted and later used as a valuable natural fertilizer on other areas of the farm.
  7. Monitoring and Adaptation: Regularly monitor the condition of the pasture, the health of the chickens, and the overall impact of the rotational grazing system. Adjust the rotation schedule and the number of chickens per tractor or eggmobile based on observed outcomes and changing environmental conditions.
  8. Integration with Crops and Livestock: Integrate the rotational grazing system with other aspects of the farm, such as crop production and other livestock. Chickens can follow behind grazing animals, such as cattle, benefiting from the insects brought to the surface and helping control parasites in return.

By implementing rotational grazing of chickens in chicken tractors or eggmobiles, farmers in arid Southern Africa can improve soil health, promote natural pest control, and efficiently utilize available pasture resources. This approach contributes to the overall regenerative farming practices in the region, leading to more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. Moreover, rotational grazing can be an effective strategy to combat desertification, restore degraded land, and enhance the productivity of small-scale farms in arid environments.

Large scale regenerative chicken farm

There’s an innovate large scale Regenerative chicken farm in the Mexican Chihuahua desert. in Mexico…producing chicken in the desert without planting or buying fodder.

Key stats of their operation:

  • Each coop holds 800 layers
  • Each chicken eats about 60 gr. of feed per day,
  • On average 70% of chicken lay an egg per day
  • Thus, from each 800 coop, you could harvest 560 eggs daily
  • It is important to provide artificial light during winter
  • They need 10 to 12 hours of light to lay an egg
  • In the summer you might get 120% laying
  • Try to follow the flies and crickets more then the cows or grass
  • The desert also benefits from all the chicken scratching open the hard surface 👍🏻

See their work online at www.terrenates.com

Regenerative chicken farming in South Africa

A similar concept is followed by Farmer Angus Brown in South Africa. He open-sourced his concept and explained it in detail here.

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