This intern presentation presents the results of a summer project that investigated multi-species rotational grazing with cattle and pastured laying hens.
Poultry at the Kerr Center (2009 – 2012)
2009-2010: Chicken Tractor
- Housed 6-8 birds year-round
- Easily moved with an ATV
- Generally moved one or two times per week
- Placed over beds or rows to fertilize/weed/till garden before planting
2011-2012: Pastured Poultry
- Raised 40 chicks in trailers
“Home base” decreased roaming
- Put chicks on pasture as early as possible
Acclimate to weather before summer
- Placed wire panels on either side of ramp leading to trailer door to herd birds into trailer
- Moved trailers frequently to limit roaming, predation
- Electronet fencing
Heritage Chicken Breeds
This is one of the most famous and all time popular breeds of truly American chickens. Developed in the early part of this century in the state of the same name, they have maintained their reputation as a dual-purpose fowl through the years. Outstanding for production qualities, they have led the contests for brown egg layers time after time. No other heavy breed lays more or better eggs than the Rhode Island Reds. Baby chicks are a rusty red color and the mature birds are a variety of mahogany red.
Introduced from England in the late 1800’s, they became one of the most popular farm fowls in this country. These are large, stately birds of quiet disposition. Easy to dress for the table, they are white skinned, plump, and juicy, a beautiful eating bird. Their heavy, full plumage makes them excellent winter layers, shelling out brown eggs right through cold weather. They also make excellent setters and mothers. These “Golden Beauties” have been one of the most popular varieties for years and years with their glistening plumage and pinkish white skin. Baby chicks are a soft light buff color.
The Silver Laced is the original Wyandotte and the other varieties were developed from it later with crosses on other breeds. It is colorful, hardy, and productive. The broad-feathered, smooth fitting plumage is sharply marked. The general appearance is silvery white and lustrous greenish black as each feather is edged in a contrasting color. The close-fitting rose comb and good body size are valuable assets for winter laying. Cold weather doesn’t seem to bother them at all as their hardiness and vigor keep them laying straight through the winter. They lay a nicely shaped, good sized egg, varying from light to rich brown, and will set some. This is an excellent variety for exhibition. Baby chicks vary from almost black to light silvery gray and many have contrasting light and dark stripes on the back.
— Descriptions taken from McMurray Hatchery
Minorcas were developed in the Mediterranean area where they take their name from an island off the coast of Spain. Development may have been as an offshoot of the Spanish breed.
The largest of the Mediterranean breeds, they are long, angular birds that appear larger than they are. They have long tails,and large wide feathers closely held to narrow bodies. Minorcas have relatively large combs and wattles. Good Minorcas are stately, impressive birds and can give a fair return in eggs, although in recent years they have not been intensively selected for that purpose… Minorcas rarely go broody, are very alert and fairly good foragers.
Description adapted from Oklahoma State University