Wild Chick Farm. In the fall of 2005 Sarah Brunner and Shail Pec-Crouse, started a commercial pastured chicken operation in Arcata, California. The first four months see update of business were spent learning from other successful models, experimenting with different equipment, suffering through trials and tribulations, getting our hands bloody and planning improvements to our system. Throughout it all we have been guided by our core values of humane husbandry and sustainability.
We began with a very small flock of 175 birds and decided to try two different models of raising them on pasture to see which model worked the best for our situation. We compared the two models by looking at efficiency, loss to predators, land impact cost, fossil fuel use and mobility which strongly effects efficiency, land impact and fossil fuel use. After working with both models for a couple of months we came to the conclusion that the Chicken Tractor (CT) model is most appropriate for raising meat chickens and the Hoop House (HH) model is more appropriate for raising laying hens. The CT is better for meat production because it is more cost effective and mobile and there is less predation. The CT is also important for pasturing laying hens for their first few months since there are less predator risks. The Hoop House is better for egg production because it accommodates nest boxes and roosts.