Last week I started reading a chicken tractor classic, Joel Salatin's, Pastured Poultry Profits, originally published in 1993. This book has probably done more to change how small farms and homesteaders think about producing meat in a healthy, sustainable, and profitable manner. Here is a video clip where he is featured from the movie called, Fresh: (You'll notice that his original chicken tractors have evolved to be larger and moved by tractors)
My ideas for raising chickens have also evolved a bit since I started originally, particularly since my current home doesn't have enough pasture / grass to move a chicken tractor around so that they can eat the grass. Instead I built a semi-permanent pen over a long garden box. This way I can add bedding and compost to where the chickens are living. They peck at it, scratch the ground up, and add their own contributions to the soil. Then the following year I move them to a new garden box and they can do the same to the new one. Right now I only have two large boxes and I hope to build one or two more each year so that I can rotate the chickens through each box every three or four years. (Once we have more boxes, they won't be exclusively in a single box.) I'll create another post soon where I post photos and describe what I've done a bit more.