One Million Square Feet
Over the course of a season, our laying hens will have access to over one million square feet of pasture!
Our hens are pasture-raised, which means they live on pasture, unlike free-range chickens which have access to pasture. Our hens only go inside their mobile coop to lay eggs and roost (sleep), while they live the rest of their life on a pasture enclosed by an electric netted paddock (to keep the predators out). We move their coop daily within the pasture paddock (about half an acre in size) as well as move the paddock weekly. This ensures the hens have fresh pasture to enjoy, supple grass & new bugs to eat, and leave their manure behind to fertilize & re-vitalize our pastures.
In total, a laying hen at our farm will have 1,076 sq ft of pasture to enjoy during the season. According to Certified Humane, the minimum spacial requirement for a laying hen is 108 sq ft, if raised in a pasture-raised environment. This requirment incudes rotation, but within that 108 sq ft. While our hens might not have 108 sq ft at any one time, their frequent rotation & long pasture-rest period offers them clean, vibrant pasture with plenty of fresh forage to enjoy every day, all season long. I'd say 10x the healthy spacial requirement isn't too shabby for our laying hens.
Take some time to think about it: You are what you eat - eats.
Buy a dozen eggs from our farm and taste the difference! Stay tuned to learn more about our farm, how we cultivate nutrient-dense food, and how you can make more informed food choices.
Check out this great diagram, from Vital Farms, demonstrating the spacial gemoetry for laying hens within various living conditions.
* For those math nerds, we have 1,000 layers, living inside a paddock of 26,896 sq ft (164 ft x 164 ft). This paddock is moved weekly through the growing season (March through December, 40 weeks per year) giving you 1,075,840 sq ft per year (26,896 sq ft / week x 40 weeks), and yielding an average of 1,076 sq ft per bird over the season, with an average of 27 sq ft per bird at any given time.
** What about January & February? We'll explain their winter foraging in an upcoming post, but don't worry, they still go outside freely...the greater challenge in the winter is their water freezes before the hens actually get cold.
*** If you are concerned about our birds only having an average of 27 sq ft of pasture at any given time, reflect on the post photo and ask yourself; Are these hens crowded? Can they freely forage the pasture? Do they have ample space to express themselves (live naturally)? If the "floor" they walk across covered & living with forage? ... If you're still not convinced, come visit us and we'll take you out to see them in person.