“Pastured” and “Grass-Fed” are similar terms that to us, really mean pretty much the same thing – daily moving of the chickens over good grassland forage. The result is really a healthier animal with a superior flavor that passes on many of the trace nutrients found in their environment to the consumer.
Pastured Poultry – from brooder to your broiler, naturally
Everywhere we go we get asked a multitude of questions about our chickens. A lot of those questions tend to come from fancy supermarket chicken advertising so let’s set the record straight on what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.
We receive day old chicks from a hatchery. They come in a big box via overnight mail and on the morning of their arrival the local post office calls at about 7:30am and politely asks us to come and pick up a rather noisy box of chicks. When they come home to the farm, they are quickly settled into their brooder where they will spend the next 3 weeks of their lives. A brooder is a special large pen filled with clean wood shavings that’s kept warm and free from drafts so the young chicks can grow strong enough to be moved outside to pasture. While they are in the brooder, in addition to daily feeding of local-milled feed, we also provide the young chicks with daily clover and grass to get them accustomed to foraging (the occasional worm is offered up for entertainment value). Want to know more about their feed?
At about 3 weeks of age, they are moved from the brooder in the barn to their pens in the pasture. There they will spend the next 4-5 weeks of their lives enjoying fresh air, sunshine, pasture forage and plenty of bugs. Every morning during that time, their pens are moved to a new patch of fresh pasture (twice during their last week on the farm). They are fed and watered in their pens and when it’s too hot out, we have been known to provide a little extra help in keeping them cool by way of long extension cords and box fans.
When they reach about 8 weeks old, the chickens, who have had a wonderful life, are handled with the utmost respect and are processed right here on the farm. Processing days are big events and we often have helpers, family, friends and apprentices participate in the process that ultimately culminates in a line of excited customers bearing coolers picking up their much anticipated birds!
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