As we launched Hill Family Farm, the primary focus was on creating an all-natural, sustainable farm. Since we are committed to not using chemical fertilizers or pesticides, it’s critical we take advantage of all nature as to offer in order to continually improve the quality of our land. Everything we do, we do with this focus on sustainability.
We knew early on a key component of our sustainability efforts would be the use of something called a chicken tractor. Joel Salatin is the king of the chicken tractor and the pic to the left is based on his design. Basically it’s a 10’x10′, 2′ tall box and will hold up to 75-80 meat chickens. The beauty of the design is that it’s mobile and can be moved around the pasture daily.
This accomplishes 2 key things. First, it allows for the chickens to be safe from predators, while having access to fresh grass and bugs. Secondly, it improves the quality of the pasture. Chicken manure is very high in nitrogen and they have no problem spreading it around!
Initially my plan was to build a Salatin-style tractor for our farm. However after spending some time last fall helping “process” 80-90 chickens at Peacefield Farm in KY, I discovered I was way too old to be climbing inside a 2′ high box and chasing chickens. I had to come up with a more “age-friendly” design.
With that in mind, I’m pleased to present to you the Hill-style chicken tractor! It’s also a 10’x10′ design, but instead of only 2′ tall, it’s over 6′ tall. This means I don’t have to get on my hands and knees to move around inside it. The trade-off is it’s not as easy to move around, but hey, that’s what a tractor’s for!
We moved our meat birds into it this past weekend and they seem to be enjoying the great outdoors. As a result, we’ll be enjoying some great tasting, pasture-raised chicken in just a few weeks! Hopefully you’ll buy one and try it out for yourself. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Oh, just in case you’d like to know the difference between our chicken and chicken you buy in the store…check out this picture of a typical commercial meat bird operation and compare it to our chicken tractor. Which chicken would you rather eat?