The ultimate pastured chicken

Outdoors on pasture, in small groups, with fresh "salad bar" every day

Mobile pastured pen with a free range

Our pastured model combines the best of both worlds on ethical poultry keeping (organic and pastured) into one that surpasses them all.

Our chickens live in a mobile floorless pen, that is light and airy. The pen is sturdy enough for stormy days, allowing the chickens to continue eating grass that’s under their feet.

The mobile pens move daily onto a new piece of pasture. Chickens poo a lot – once they have soiled an area, they don’t eat grass from it. To keep them foraging and on a clean ground, we move the pen daily, sometimes twice daily.

The pen is off the ground on all sides for the chickens to range outside it as well. They are protected with an electronet from foxes and cats. The relatively narrow space between the net and the mobile pen prevents aerial predators like buzzards, kites and ravens.

Young baby chicks learn to eat grass

We receive day old baby chicks, that we keep in our brooder until they are about 2.5-3 weeks old. At this still very young age, they move to their pastured pen.

As baby chicks, we provide them with chopped grass, soil and sand, and on a warm sunny day take them outside on grass, to teach them at a very young age to forage and to build their immune and digestive system.

The chicks also receive probiotics and prebiotics regularly in their drinking water to improve their overall health, and to make them strong to live outdoors.

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.

Feed regime for active foraging

We feed natural feed that is GM-free or an organically-certified one.

Along with a this pelleted feed, we feed fermented whole mixed grain (wheat, peas, sunflower, maize). It’s rich in vitamins and digestible protein and fibre, along with beneficial bacteria and yeasts.

Our feed regime is restricted to twice day feeding of 40-70% pelleted feed ration, and the rest of fermented whole grain. In this way, we promote high activity of chickens between feeding times, as they get hungry and forage for food. From grass and herbs, to insects and worms (they particularly hunt for low flying insect very early morning and at dusk, whereas during the day they mostly eat plants).

Our restricted feeding regime also regulates the birds’ growth, so they mature at a much slower rate than their genetic potential. Thus, we prevent health problems and diseases related to fast development.

Chicken on a perch

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

I love eating fresh grass leaves, as well as clover, yarrow, chicory and dandelion.

Chickens asleep

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

Keeping the pasture delicious and nutritious for the birds

The pasture is kept at a level of growth that is most palatable to the chickens. That is young sweet grass, not too tall and not too short.

The chickens eat young grass shoots for fibre and antioxidants, as well as clover, and herbs like yarrow, dandelion and chicory. These herbs are always present in their daily fresh pastured area, so the birds can pick up those they need the most, to balance their mineral and other nutrient needs.

Chickens restoring pasture back to its health

Our pastures are managed for high biodiversity, and our chickens are part of our land regeneration programme.

They trample grass and their rich droppings provide much needed nutrients for areas that we have identified that need it the most.

Unlike other management systems, we make the best out of natural chicken behaviour and their droppings to benefit the land the most.

The type of chicken we're keeping

We use standard commercial strain, Hubbard.

Our restricted feed regime and large range means our chickens develop slowly and stay active throughout their lives. We don’t experience any health problems associated with this strain.

Check out how I live

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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)