Dispatches from the Hill RSS

Hayfield Restoration with Chickens: Year One

I don't have much more to add to my previous post on this subject. The real "proof-in-the-pudding" will arrive in the spring with the new grass. If the lush green stripes return, viola! We've done something real—though, in a small way. If not, we'll go back to the drawing board. I do want to share, however, some more photos I came across while digging through the shots from this summer. They'll give you a good indication of the incredible improvement we saw in the part of the hayfield that had the benefit of the chickens' attention. In Exhibit A, you can a cross-section of the field. The lush, thick, darker-green grass near the top of the photo had 50 chickens...

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Hayfield Restoration with Chickens: Idea & Testing

We started raising chickens on grass this year for a reason that I don't hear or read often. We didn't do it for the chicken. We didn't do it for the money. We did it for the grass. Those of you who are familiar with our farm know that while this farm has transitioned through the years from hosting sheep, to cows, to horses, our hayfields have been hayfields for somewhere near 200 years. We're a hay farm. And we're a hay farm that has suffered a bit from the extreme efficiency and heavy machinery of modern hay farming. Our fields have become dry, brittle, and compacted after too many years of take, take, take and too few tons of...

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