Outdoor access for all animals all year round
Organic Management Techniques to Improve Sustainability of Non-Organic Farming
Download the PDF
This abstract was composed as part of a Defra-funded project looking at organic management techniques that could be applied on non-organic farms and help improve sustainability. It describes information on providing outdoor access for animals. It lists the main agronomic, economic and/or ecological value you can expect to gain from applying the method. It includes practical recommendations that will help you implement the method on your farm and other useful in-formation such as the time of year you could apply the method, suitability according to your farming system, and equipment required. It also provides a guide of how you can best implement the method. Potential benefits and potential barriers you would need to consider, financial implications, and how it relates to legislation are also listed.
- For most farm animals, being outside is their natural habitat.
- Outdoor access is best achieved through grazing.
- Integration of trees in outdoor areas provides shelter for livestock.
- Animals that have maximum outdoor access can express much of their natural behaviour such as foraging, exploring and having social contact. This leads to improved animal welfare.
- Grazed forages are a cheap feed resource and grazing contributes directly through nutrient recycling.
- Specific positive outcomes for pigs and poultry can be prevention of behavioural problems such as feather pecking and tail biting.
- Improved feed diet intake and digestibility can arise from including forage in the diet.