Forest pasture carrying capacity

Hybrid cockerelOur
forest pasture is abnormally quiet at the
moment.  Mama hen is brooding four eggs that I’m 99% sure are
unfertilized, and her chick likes to hang out in the coop with her even
though he’s mostly grown. 

Our kitchen scraps are
quite voluminous at this time of year, as I cut up garden veggies to go
in the freezer and discard tops and bug-bitten areas.  I toss all
of the scraps into the pasture every morning, then bring in a
wheelbarrow load of garden weeds in the afternoon, feeding our two
pastured chickens no storebought food.  They certainly don’t seem
hungry — half of the kitchen scraps are still lying around, and our
cockerel rarely even comes out to greet me when I bring him treats.

Compost piles in the forest pasture

My goal is to have our
flock eventually whittled down to a level where we’re feeding them only
our scraps and
soldier flies

It looks like at this time of year, we could probably raise about four
chickens on our scraps alone (as long as they had enough room to catch
bugs and add protein to their diet.)  Once we get a spare moment,
we’ll add some nest boxes to the coop and transfer two or three of our
laying hens into the pasture to clean up the tomato and peach bits
currently going to waste on the

Our homemade chicken
makes the
forest pasture entirely work-free.  We fill up the five gallon
bucket waterer and forget about it for weeks at a time.

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