Although it is still the middle of a dark, snowy, and cold winter, we are busily planning our production for this coming season. This will be our second year offering a bulk chicken buying program. The program helps us to know ahead of time how many chickens we’ll need to raise this year and offers you a significant savings off the retail cost in exchange for your pre-season commitment. The program is very flexible, allowing you multiple options of amount of chicken, cutting and packaging, and delivery or pickup. As always, our chickens are raised outdoors on pasture, moved to fresh grass each day, fed a non-GMO grain ration, and processed by hand on our farm in our state inspected facility. Here’s how it works:
Chicken FAQ's - Do you have questions about our practices? Here are some common ones:
Q: You say your feed is non-GMO - why not organic feed?
A: Great question! We tried organic feed in the first half of last season and were really disappointed with the birds' health and vigor and growth rate. It turns out a certified organic feed is required to limit the amount of synthetic amino acids to a level below the requirements of these fast growing birds. In the future, we may pursue this again, using a custom feed mix with organic grains. Here's an interesting article explaining this issue in more detail. attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/viewhtml.php?id=336
Q: You process the birds on your farm - do you use disinfectant (chlorine bleach) in your chill tank water?
A: No. Our chill tank contains only purchased bagged ice and water from our well, which is tested annually for bacteria and coliform as part of our certification process. Our well water is treated with a softener and a UV disinfection system. We do clean our chicken processing equipment including scalder, plucker, tables, cutting boards, sink, etc by washing, rinsing, and then spraying with a dilute bleach solution.
Q: Are your chickens free-range?
A: We would not describe them that way. With our pastured layers, we find that a day-ranging system, with a stationary house, feeder and waterer, and a larger fenced area for the birds to roam, causes an uneven distribution of manure, leaving some areas under-fertilized and others burnt by the high-nitrogen content of the chicken manure. The system we use for meat chickens strives to provide a high quality of life for the chickens and also a regenerative effect on the land. The chickens are housed in a 10' x 12' bottomless pen, which is moved to fresh grass daily. This keeps the chickens from returning to their own manure and it provides an even distribution of nutrients that the grasses can readily absorb and use. The short-duration, heavy grazing and scratching effect of the chickens, followed by a long period of rest, results in a beautiful, rich pasture with lush grasses that draw deer and other wildlife in winter to dig under the snow to graze.
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