Monday, July 4, 2011

Broiler Pens, Polyface-Style: Green Acres Weekend Update

You know how you start a project and convince yourself it will be done in an afternoon, and two days later you're still at it?  That's how our Polyface-style broiler pen project fared.  But it's done, and if we ever make another one, it probably will just take an afternoon!  Our pen was inspired by Joel Salatin's book, Pastured Poultry Profits, and images/instructions we found here on Flickr.  They are simple to make, pretty inexpensive (especially if you can score some extra metal roofing for free, which - darn it - we found out later we could have), and our Cornish-Cross meat birds are the fattest and happiest birds on the block.

The pen is 10'x12'x2' and can hold up to 100 broilers.  The people who posted the Flickr instructions used 1x4s for most of the frame, but we ripped 1x6s in half for the vertical and horizontal pieces, and in thirds for the diagonal braces, as Salatin recommends.  The bottom, horizontal board in the front and back is a 10' 2x4 ripped in half.

Framing done!

We salvaged the height-adjustable wheels from a spent lawn mower to help move the pen.  Salatin uses a special dolly.

We had to rig them a bit, but they work.


Moving the broilers.  Salatin recommends doing this early in the day so they have time to acclimate before evening.  Our are almost three weeks old in this photo.

Pastured poultry!

We found four of these aluminum feeders, along with the old wooden poultry cage pictured above, in an antique shop.  They were reasonably priced, so we grabbed them.

We move the pen daily to new pasture, which provides fresh greens and bugs, and keeps conditions sanitary.

Here's our hallway...we're finally having our faulty plumbing replaced, so renovations are beginning again.
Happy Independence Day!


  1. Did you use Aluminum metal roofing? If so, where did you find it? Thanks!

    1. Hi! Just saw this - thanks for visiting! We did use aluminum metal roofing and just got it at Home Depot. Probably not the cheapest, but it was all that was available. You could also try getting some from building supply warehouses or even demolition sites.