You may have noticed that we’ve got chicken available on our website now! It has been the best chicken I personally have ever tasted (but I’m a little biased). I wanted to take a few paragraphs and talk about our chicken operation and tell you why our chicken is so good.
All our chickens are pastured, which simply means that they are raised outside on pasture for their entire life, except for the first two weeks or so. Those first two weeks are when they need a lot of attention from their mama hen, so we have to provide that attention in the form of protection from the elements, warmth, and easy access to food and water. After that, we open up the portable brooder shed and they spend the rest of their life on pasture. We do this because it is just the right thing to do for the chicken’s well being. The chickens have space to roam around and express their natural behaviors, eat bugs, lay in the sun, etc. All things that chickens raised in a modern industrial farm will never get to do.
One of our main tenants of farming is that we are regenerating the land, so, therefore, we also follow a practice called “rotational grazing”. We move the chicken’s shelters to a fresh spot of pasture every single day. The chickens prefer to stay near their shelters because that is where the bulk of their impact is. Since we move them every day, no part of our pasture ever has so much impact that it doesn’t recover quickly, and the manure left behind by the chickens actually makes that ground more fertile than before they arrived. They show up, eat the grass, bugs, etc., and leave behind a spot of ground that is primed to see an explosion of new growth. We are actually planning our crop rotations based on where the chickens were the season prior.
The other huge benefit of rotational grazing is that our chickens are much healthier. They are not exposed to their own manure constantly like they would be in the modern industrial system. This means our chickens just don’t get sick except for the very rare case. Because of this, we never give our chickens any kind of medication (antibiotic or otherwise), and we don’t have them vaccinated for anything. The sunshine and fresh air help a lot too!
I think that you can really tell from the quality of the meat that these chickens had a great life. Just like how grass fed beef has more flavor and less fat than feedlot beef, pastured chicken is the same.
I’ve got so much more I want to share on this topic (like what a Freedom Ranger is!) but that will have to wait for future newsletters. For now, I’ll challenge you to check out “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts” which is a quick YouTube video about one of the farms that we are mimicking. Will Harris and his family on White Oaks Pasture have a great story about how they are healing the land and growing fantastic food in a clean and humane manner.
Thanks again for supporting our farm! Without people like you, Charlotte would just have one more shopping center and the nature and history of this place would be lost forever.