The Ridge Island Groves "Moveable Feast" is a new venture into rotational intensive livestock farming. Right now we are starting with Pastured Poultry to help boost the grass in our pastures. In the above picture you can see our chicken tractors. These movable pins house 50 to 80 broiler chickens a piece. They are moved 12 feet to fresh pasture every day, so the grass is not overloaded with nitrogen and also so the chickens get a fresh salad and more bugs to eat every day.
Our goal is to raise salad bar beef. In order to do this our cattle will also have to be moved to a fresh paddock of pasture every day. The cows will graze more aggressively than in a free range model and therefore eat more intensively and less selectively.
In addition to the broilers and salad bar beef we will also have laying hens. We are going to start with Rhode Island Reds and we will be using them in two different ways. One group will follow the cows and do a little extra cleanup of bugs, larvae, and forage. The other group will be running through our orange groves and peach orchards. The incentive here is for the birds to clean underneath the trees and to control bugs. There is also the added benefit of free spreading of fertilizer, aka chicken manure. Both groups will have a movable chicken coup with laying boxes with places to roost for the night. The boundaries will be controlled with electric mesh fencing, which will also keep ground predators out. The best things about the laying hens of course are the eggs. Rich in omega-3 and superior in taste to today's conventional eggs, they are a real treat.
So far this our plan, but I'm sure there will be more to come!