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A Feast of Grasses

Regenerative Pastured Food for Pets and Animals - Our Pathway of practices, provisions & passions


It's a warm, humid morning at the farm, the first light of dawn filtering through the trees, and there's a gentle clucking sound in the air. Our chickens, already busy scratching the earth, are playing an indispensable role in our regenerative agriculture system. As I tromp through the grass, I marvel at the symphony of life these birds help sustain.

Chickens are more than just egg producers; they are the cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant farm ecosystem. Their innate behaviors contribute to soil fertility, pest control, and overall farm health. Here at Front Porch Pets, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of integrating chickens into our permaculture practices.

Our journey with chickens began years ago when we first introduced a flock of Red Rangers. We noticed immediate benefits. Chickens are natural foragers, and their constant scratching and pecking aerates the soil, promoting better water infiltration and root growth. As they forage, they consume weed seeds and pests, reducing our reliance on chemical controls and enhancing the field’s health and biodiversity. Currently, we still have Red Rangers and we are going to be introducing Buff Orpingtons and Rainbow Egg to our flock.

The benefits don’t stop there. Chicken manure, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, is a potent fertilizer. When the chickens move through the fields and gardens, their droppings enrich the soil, boosting the growth of our pastures. The cyclical nature of their grazing and fertilizing creates a self-sustaining nutrient loop, reducing our need for external inputs.

In our commitment to no-spray orcharding and gardening, chickens are invaluable allies. They significantly reduce the pest populations that would otherwise threaten our orchards, gardens, and livestock. By consuming insects like beetles and grubs, chickens help us maintain a healthy balance in our ecosystem, supporting our goal of growing fruits naturally without toxic chemicals.

Expanding on our success with chickens, we’ve adopted a silvopasture system that integrates our feathered friends with other livestock. In this system, cows graze the pastures first, followed by the chickens and their mobile coops, known as chicken tractors, in a cyclic fashion. The chickens roam the fields after the cows have finished grazing, scratching through the cow manure and breaking it down, which accelerates decomposition and nutrient cycling. This constant movement ensures even distribution of nutrients, promoting robust grass growth and providing a rich diet for our cattle. The synergy between the cows and chickens enhances the health of the pasture, creating a sustainable and productive ecosystem. This practice not only enhances soil health but also controls parasites, improving the well-being of all our animals.

One of the most exciting aspects of this system is its impact on carbon sequestration. The deep-rooted grasses and trees, nurtured by the chickens' activities, draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing it in biomass and soil. This process helps mitigate climate change, aligning perfectly with our goal of reducing our “carbon pawprint.”

As we expand our gardens and orchard, adding different trees and plants each year, the role of chickens becomes even more critical. Their presence ensures that the soil remains fertile and the ecosystem balanced, supporting our vision of a resilient, sustainable farm. Whether it’s producing the apples for our Daily’s Dog Chews or the vegetables for our kitchens, chickens are integral to our success.

Late summer days, spent in the gardens, orchards and fields with our team, are made more enjoyable by the sight of chickens busily working alongside us. There’s something deeply satisfying about watching them thrive, knowing that their simple, natural behaviors are contributing to the health of our farm and the quality of our products.

As we continue to learn and grow, our commitment to regenerative agriculture is unwavering. Chickens, with their humble yet powerful presence, remind us that sustainable farming is about working with nature, not against it. They are our partners in this journey, helping us create a farm that is as productive as it is harmonious.

So, the next time your dog enjoys a Daily’s Dog Chews or you stop by the farmstand for the rich flavor of a farm-fresh egg, remember the chickens. Their hard work and natural instincts are the unseen forces driving the health and vitality of our farm, ensuring that we can continue to provide nourishing, sustainably-grown products for years to come.

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