In the summer of 2017, we started to pasture birds at Stone Ridge Orchard in Stone Ridge NY. The orchard is owned by Elizabeth Ryan of Breezy Hill Orchard. We are delighted with this arrangement, and we are very grateful to Elizabeth for providing this opportunity. We maintain 4 flocks of geese and one mixed flock of ducks and geese at this time. The orchard provides a wonderful environment for our birds, apple trees give essential shade, grass and windfall apples supply healthy sustenance. Birds are also given a balanced game bird poultry feed. Water is kept in large reservoirs near the birds and dispensed into automatic watering systems.
Our flocks are protected from predators by electrified poultry netting energized with solar power. Each flock of approximately 20 geese is allowed to establish its own hierarchy, and at he end of the season, the dominant gander and three geese will be selected as breeding stock, and the remaining geese will be harvested for Christmas goose.
As apple pickers enjoy the orchard, our geese call out to them. They are very social birds, and they naturally assume the pickers have come to play with them, to care for them. They also talk to the geese in nearby flocks.
In October we will be adding heritage chickens in a different part of the orchard. The chickens will live in a large mobile chicken coop built on a hay wagon. This three season coop has a tin roof, plenty of roosting bars and open flooring to allow chicken poo to fall away from the birds, keeping their living quarters clean and dry. Moving the coop every 4-7 days keeps the chickens clean, and allows for natural decomposition of the manure. The chickens will live in a large field of tall grass. This provides an ample supply of bugs and worms, as well as some protection from hawks. The coop also carries its own food and water supply. Chickens, like all our birds, are protected from predators by solar powered electrified poultry netting at all times.