Our second batch of chicks is now just over 3 weeks old. That means they are old enough to get out of the brooder and onto some lush green grass! There are 100 chicks in this batch, so we decided to separate them into 2 flocks to make them easier to work with.
Dave moved them about 20 at a time, loading them into a dog crate and wheeling them over to the portable shelters that were awaiting them. Usually we try to start the chicks as close to the brooder as possible, just to make this move easier on us. We had to start them on the opposite side of the yard this time, because the laying hens had already been on the grass closest to the coop when they moved out earlier this spring.
If we ever need to put chickens where chickens have already been, we prefer to let the ground rest as long as possible. Chicken manure is very ‘hot,’ or heavy in Nitrogen, and can burn the soil if too much is deposited. This practice will also wreak havoc on any kind of parasite or pathogen that could be left behind when the birds move. We haven’t had to deal with any parasite or pathogen problem and we do our best to keep it that way. Our model has the chicken shelter move at least once a day to give the birds fresh grass and bugs to eat and to get them away from their own manure.