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Raising Chicken without Grain: the Integrated Compost and Poultry System
The integrated compost and poultry system is a farming method that combines composting, poultry raising, and egg production. It is a low-cost method to raise chickens while producing good quality compost. Feed costs are almost eliminated because food scraps, manure, and mulch are used for feed – all of which can be obtained from either the same farm or sourced cheaply from nearby restaurants or markets. These birds are fed a zero-grain diet and are comparatively more robust and toned than grain-fed chickens. The number of eggs produced from compost-fed chickens is the same, if not more (by up to 1/3), than that of grain-fed chickens. The protein content in the chicken feed is high and very good quality compost is made from this system. The system explained in this technology employs a trailer that provides housing for protection of predators, collection of eggs, and capture of feces of the chicken to enrich the compost. An automatic watering system ensures that there is always enough water for the birds to keep them hydrated. The resulting compost is rich in nutrients and is recycled into vegetable gardens that produce high quality fruits and vegetables. This system is designed for about 36 adult birds because the chicken coop (a repurposed trailer) has six perches; each perch holds six chickens. The chickens have the option to lay their eggs on two different sides of the trailer where they are housed. Depending on the breed and the age of the birds, in four weeks’ time, this system will produce a high amount of quality compost, over 200 eggs, and robust chickens that can continue to produce eggs or be processed for food.