PASTURE RAISED CHICKEN
What's your ideal chicken?
Take a moment and think about what you want in your family's chicken. Would you like it to be organically fed? Are there any products you don't want fed to your chicken? How should your chicken be treated throughout its life? Should your chicken be healthful and flavorful?
We pose these questions for all the food we eat, not just chickens. However, they're questions we had to answer when deciding how to raise our chickens for our own family. Read on if you'd like to learn more about how we raise our chickens and what makes our chickens so special.
The current state of today's chicken
Chicken meat is a staple in almost every family’s diet. It is a very versatile meat that can be cooked many different ways. It is also readily available at just about any grocery store and is often quite cheap. You can even buy whole chickens in a can from Amazon.com! However, there has been a trend among large chicken producers that we aren’t thrilled with. And that is what really nudged our family to begin raising our own chickens.
Today, most chickens raised for meat are raised indoors in large, climate controlled buildings. The birds are allowed a little over one square foot per bird and spend most of their time laying down. Some producers have adopted USDA organic standards, which is an improvement, but even under the USDA program chickens are only required to have access to an outdoor pen for part of the day; this doesn’t mean the chickens will ever actually step outside and see the sun.
Creating a better chicken
When our family decided to start raising our own food, we chose chickens as one of our first endeavors. We eat a lot of chicken (about two large birds a week), and so it only made sense to start our animal husbandry effort with one of our main protein sources. Before we purchased our first birds, we came up with a set of goals that we felt would ensure our chicken meat met our own personal and ethical guidelines.
Feed the chickens from our own property, preferably allowing the chickens to harvest their own feed. While this is often considered grass fed chicken, we felt adding more diversity, such as lettuce and kale, would result in an even better pastured chicken.
When addition feed is required, the feed should be locally grown and milled, and certified organic (which by its very nature implies non-GMO).
Never use anti-biotics, growth hormones, or other artificial additives.
Free range chickens should be raised outdoors on pasture for their entire lives.
The butchering process should be quick, humane, and result in carcass that we would be proud to serve at an upscale restaurant.
Organic, GMO free feed
A pastured chicken’s meat is only as good as what it eats. We use the highest quality inputs to ensure our chicken meat is flavorful, nutritious, and sustainable. Our pasture is dense with various grasses, clover, and other mixed greens that we overseed each year. The chickens have free access to as much pasture forage as they can eat. When the chickens feel they need a little variety in their diet, they turn to our supplemental feed, which is milled by a wonderful family that produces an organic and GMO free feed. Between the endless supply of pasture and the feed we use, our chicken meat tends to be higher in Omega-3 fatty acids as compared to conventional store bought chicken.
Allowing chickens to be chickens
Allowing our chickens to free range in our pastures does more than just provide them with a top notch food source. It also allows the chickens to exercise and express their “chicken-ness.” Exercise is an important component to our chickens’ lives as it builds stronger, healthier bodies that are more resistant to common chicken illnesses. A chicken’s natural behavior is to peck and scratch at the earth, dust bathe in the sun, and chase insects. A chicken that is allowed to be itself is going to be much happier and healthier, another key component in producing a flavorful meat.
When it’s time to harvest our chickens, we employ a local family business to help dress our birds. They do a fantastic job at quickly cleaning and packaging the free range chickens. The result is a whole chicken that is in a thick, shrink wrapped bag that is freezer ready.
Please allow us to share our bounty with you
We have been very happy with the chickens we’ve raised. So happy, in fact, that we’ve started selling them through our farm business. If you’re interested in purchasing a pasture raised, organically fed, soy free, corn free, GMO free chicken, you can place an order through our website , phone your order in by calling (503) 862-8212, or email us .
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
$5.99 per pound
Organically fed, GMO free.
Availability for 2019
We will not be raising chickens this year. Please visit our friend's farm at naturesoldtimemeats.com for more options.
Feet, Head, Liver, Heart, and Gizzard
We often have the offal and extra parts available. These make for an excellent broth that is simply uncomparable! They can be purchased for $3.00 per pound. If interested, please email us to check availability.