Pastured chicken

Outdoors on pasture, with fresh air, sunshine and grass

Check out how I live

Hi. I’m a chicken.

I live with my siblings outside on pasture. I don’t like rain and wind so it’s great to be outside but still have a shelter. I don’t need to fear dogs, cats, foxes, magpies, crows and buzzards, as our pen keeps me safe.

And it moves every day – Radka puts wheels on the structure at one end and pulls it slowly on the other end to a fresh patch of grass every day. It’s my most favourite time!

I love dandelions, chicory leaves, and young grass shoots.

Outdoor pasture pen that keeps chickens safe

My early life

When we were babies just out of an egg, we lived in a brooder in an outbuilding. Since we don’t have a mother hen, Radka became ours. She made sure we were warm, dry and happy. When it was warm outside, she would take us out on grass. We had so much fun learning about which greens are delicious and which ones are not so. And if I caught a flying insect, those were the happiest moments. And dozing in the sunshine of course!

Even on a cold rainy day, we would enjoy our greens – Radka would bring them finely chopped so they fitted in our tiny beaks. We would get so excited about them! We would get the best piece and run away with it so no one could take it off us. It worked sometimes…

I’m glad that I live here. I heard that the rest of my siblings went to live in huge barns with thousands of other babies. They see no sunshine but only lights that would always shine – for 23 hrs a day! Apparently, that’s so the babies can eat more and grow faster.

As baby chicks we lived with natural light and were fed greens

Freshly out of an egg, I arrived to the brooder that kept me happy and warm. I enjoyed grass and dandelions that Radka gave us every day.

Chick outdoors on grass at early age

But soon, even when not fully feathered, Radka took us to enjoy the outdoors. I saw and heard the world, so many new experiences!

Chicks look for grubs and soil from early age

I loved searching for interesting things in the grass and soil.

Life outdoors

Once we grew enough feathers to keep us warm, we went to live permanently outside. We were 3 weeks old and grown a bit wiser since our early youth.

I’m agile and like to perch. As soon as Radka would come in to fill up our feeder, I would fly up onto her knee and enjoy her company. Radka has given us a nice big branch where we can fly up and perch. I like to see the world from above and it’s nice to exercise my wings too.

Radka brings us all sorts of goodies like whole sprouted grains, that we all love. Or more chicory leaves that we all fight for.

Chicken on a perch

Up on a perch, I can see the world from above and feel safe.

Chickens eating

We eat only natural feed, free from additives, GMO, drugs and synthetic anything.

Chickens asleep

And I like a good snooze with the comfort of my friends.

And we eat...

We love grain and seeds. Radka is very picky about what feed she gives us. She gives us one that is natural and soya-free.
Most chicken feeds contain GM soya and maize, drugs (coccidiostats, against a common chicken parasite), growth promoters and synthetic amino acids (building blocks of protein).

Instead, we get a mix of field beans, linseed, wheat, peas, maize, seaweed, yeast and minerals.

On top of our regular feed, Radka gives us garlic and seaweed to keep our immune system healthy. And she treats us to whole sprouted grains every day.

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Support farming that gives chickens the life they deserve

The amount of feed and fertilizers per 1 beef animal

As a calf, it is fed 100 kg of feed in a creep feeder:
60 kg barley
14 kg soya
23.5 kg sugar beet

growing steer (for 100 days) ratio:
350 kg barley
30 kg rapeseed

finishing steer (for 80 days)
600 kg barley

TOTAL feed per steer:
1010 kg barley
30 kg rapeseed
14 kg soya
23.5 kg sugar beet

Source: AHDB

Pesticide figure based on yearly application of pesticides on barley in 2018 (based on application to 0.17 ha that would produce 1 tonne of barley):

spring and winter barley were mixed in equal ratio for simplicity.
Pesticides in spring barley:
157.5 g
Pesticides in winter barley:
307.5 g

TOTAL 465 g of pesticides = to litres it is about 465 ml of pesticides per year.

Source: Pesticides usage survey 284 for arable crops in the United Kingdom 2018 (National Statistics)

Fertilizer figure (based on application to 0.17 ha that would produce 1 tonne of barley):
nitrogen: 24.14 kg
phosphate: 4.59 kg
potash: 5.95 kg
sulfur: 5.95 kg

TOTAL 40.63 kg of fertilizers

Source: British survey of fertilizer practice for 2018 (DEFRA)