Raising chickens on pasture is a simple concept that unfolds into endless complexities as we continue to learn more about chickens, farming, and regenerative farm ecosystems. But within all that complexity, there are three fundamentals for the way we feed pasture raised chickens at Wrong Direction Farm. I’ve summarized those three things in this graphic.
To have the best pasture raised chickens, we need to raise them with the foods best suited to their needs. Each item expands into a further topic for investigation, so I’ve included links to three more extensive articles I’ve written on each nutritional category.
- Grass and pasture plants. These provide digestive tract development, gut microbiome support, and nutrient absorption. Quite simply, grass makes the GI tract work properly. Chickens have a natural instinct to graze plants.
- Insects, grubs, and worms. These bugs give the chicken essential amino acids, especially methionine, and fats needed for their development. Chickens feel an innate desire to hunt for insects, so we need to let chickens be chickens.
- Certified organic grains. Organic grains supply a pesticide- and herbicide-free calorie boost chickens require. In their natural environment they are seed eaters, so they appreciate eating these grains.