HOW WE RAISE OUR BIRDS
Our growing philosophy is pretty simple. We want our customers to know how we raise our chickens and turkeys. At least one of our farms will have chickens and/or turkeys in the brooder or out on pasture between April 15 and October 18, so just give us a call and come on out to visit our farms and see how it’s done.
We raise our birds on pasture using either the day-range system that allows the birds to roam free on pasture during the day and stay safe in an enclosure at night or in moveable Salatin-style pens. What does free-range and pastured mean? There are many stories of factory farm poultry being raised with “access to pasture.” When in reality, this may mean there is a small door at the far end of the 1000 foot warehouse with three square feet of grass!
We take our growing practices seriously and literally. When we say pastured, we mean it! We have all agreed to the same standards of raising and processing our poultry. So, no matter from which farm you purchase your poultry, you can be confident that the birds were all raised in the same way.
The day our chicks arrive, they are brooded in a safe, warm, enclosed space for three weeks. The chicks are the cutest things ever the first three weeks, but are also pretty fragile. The brooder is warm and safe from the elements. At three weeks of age, the birds have free and continuous access to pasture when the daytime temperature is above 50 degrees. They are still housed in the brooder area, but they are able to easily access pasture through a door. At four weeks of age, the birds are permanently moved to pasture. During the day they are free to roam on pasture in a fenced area (to keep predators out) and at night they are housed in mobile housing which is moved daily.
Our poultry are grown without antibiotics, medications, or growth hormones. The pasture provides a healthy source of grasses, legumes (such as clovers), bugs, worms and all kinds of natural things chickens are meant to eat. To supplement the pasture, the birds are fed a certified organic grain ration that we source from our friends in Cashton, WI, in the heart of organic country.
Our birds are processed with modern stainless steel equipment using Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) on the farm. We process in the morning and the birds are immediately water-cooled, packaged, and stored in the freezer until you pick them up, ensuring a fresh and safe product. However, most of food safety occurs in your kitchen. All poultry, no matter how they are raised, should always be handled properly and cooked to the safe temperature of 160 degrees F. We practice Good Agricultural Practices on the farm and we hope that you’ll follow Good Kitchen Practices at home. Raw poultry should always be handled with care being sure to carefully clean cutting boards and utencils that come in contact with the poultry.
Studies have shown that pasture raised poultry have 20% less fat, 30% less saturated fat, 50% more vitamin A, and 100% more omega-3 fatty acids than cage-raised birds. There is a wealth of information about how pastured raised meat is so nutritious. Please learn more about the health benefits of pasture-raised meat at the Eat Wild website http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm