Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rodale's Pastured Poultry Workshop

Originally published in 2005, this three-part series details one couple's stumble into pastured poultry production and the lessons they learned. We've pulled the series out of the archives and dusted it off in preparation for the workshop, Eggs from your Backyard, May 14, with the author Jean Nick. Sign up now!

I'd differ with her on the advice about choosing a breed -- to me, traditional breeds have it all over modern hybrids. She gives a fair shake to the comparison, but I'm inclined to support the traditional breed farmers rather than the industrial system that creates hybrids.

"Much as we love our Buff Orpington girls they are not as efficient nor as easy to manage as modern laying hens. From now on we will probably run mostly the brown and black sexlink hybrids (brown egg layers), which have proven to do well in a pasture system," she writes.

That's undoubtedly true. However, those hybrids aren't sustainable in the sense that they can reproduce themselves and replenish the flock. Their parent flocks are kept isolated in industrial conditions to produce the chicks. It's a piece of that unpalatable industrial system. I hope her students choose traditional breeds instead.

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