We are in the midst of preparing one of our fields for an edible forest garden (aka food forest). The pasture is mostly in grass, but not in great condition. We need to deal with this grass, and there are a few ways to do it. Many people spray with herbicides such as Round-Up (glyphosate), but that’s not what we do. Some will use a tractor and plow it all up, till it up, rototill it, or whatever implement and term you may use… but we don’t own a tractor or any tractor implements. Some people use sheet mulching or some other form of occlusive mulching. We may actually use this method some, but not yet.

For now, we are going to let our animals do as much of the work as possible. They are good at it. They enjoy it. They fertilize as they go. They eat pest at the same time (grubs, flies, etc.). They give us a product while they are working (eggs and/or meat). And they are a lot cheaper to maintain than a tractor!

This is what we are doing:

Our sheep and pigs did the initial clearing of the land. They ate and knocked the big stuff down.

Our sheep and pigs did the initial clearing of the land. They ate and knocked down the big stuff.

Test

This is how we initially rotated the animals: Sheep and pigs then chicken tractors.

Our Pasture-Raised Chickens

These were the Salatin-style chicken tractors we used to raise broilers.

Our chickens came next. We used Salatin-style chicken tractors to disperse the sheep and pig manure. They also ate more grass and gave their own fertilizer.

Once we were done with the broilers, we run laying hens in their place.

Our EggMobile!

The laying hens sleep in the mobile chicken coop, the EggMobile!

We pulse the geese and ducks through this area as well. They get

We pulse the geese and ducks through this area as well. They get some more grass, and they love to root around in the wet dirt making holes all over the place!

After the chickens come the pigs again. The sheep have moved onto another part of the farm with fresh pasture.

After the chickens, geese, and ducks, come the pigs again. The sheep have moved onto another part of the farm with fresh pasture.

The pigs do a fantastic job of really tearing up the grass.

The pigs do a fantastic job of really tearing up the grass.

We are left

While the area still has some grass left, the area is significantly denuded.

We will pulse the chickens through once more to spread the pig manure again and eat any pests trying to rise up. We also may do some mulching in areas that still have some grass hanging on. But we will see.

I much prefer this method than sitting on a tractor all day!

 

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