We use the term “Pasture Raised” for our chicken. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms pioneered the pastured poultry production model in the 1980s and 90s. Now, regenrative farmers all over the world utilize many variations of this environmentally friendly model and most refer to their chicken as either “Pasture Raised” or “Pastured Poultry.” While many labeling terms have been commandeered by conventional industrial agriculture, “Pastured Poultry” and “Pasture Raised” signify the utmost environmental and humane care. These terms, while typically only used by the most responsible farmers, technically have no legal definition. So, it is very important to get to know your farmer personally and ask questions about his/her farming practices.
What is the quality of life like for the chickens?
Healthy, Happy Chicks...
Let me walk you through our process for raising healthy, environmentally friendly, humane chickens. We receive one-day-old chicks by mail directly from the hatchery, so we know that they haven’t had any antibiotics, GMOs, or pesticide-laiden feed. We’ve already got the brooder warm and ready so when they arrive they have immediate access to fresh bedding, feed, and water. Every day we mix up the bedding and add a fresh layer to ensure that the chicks stay warm and dry. Eventually, this used bedding will become compost for our vegetable garden. After two weeks, the chicks have grown enough feathers to stay warm outside of the brooder, so we take them out to their permanent homes on the pasture. Here, they live in floorless shelters that protect them from weather and predators but allow them to walk on the grass and forage naturally. Every day we move each shelter so that the chickens have fresh grass and new insects to eat.
To Healthy, Happy Chickens
In the course of their lives each broiler chicken has access to over 60 sq ft of fresh pasture per chicken!
We feed them fresh Certified Organic Feed and they graciously reward us by fertilizing the pasture. When the birds are fully grown we process them at an Animal Welfare Approved Facility. Then we do our best to find families that have been looking for the best chicken in Georgia.
That's the best tasting chicken ever! Is it better for me?
Absolutely! Animals that live in natural sunlight produce more Vitamin D. Animals that are raised outdoors get more exercise and thus have less body fat and cholesterol. They also eat a varied diet, which leads to higher levels of vitamins and nutrients. When you taste our chicken, you'll have no doubt that it is nutritionally superior.
Is all of your chicken frozen?
Yes. We follow the rules set forth by the GA Dept of Agriculture which require meat sold at farmer’s markets to be frozen.
How long does it take to thaw?
The preferred method of thawing is in the refrigerator. It takes about 3 days for a Whole Chicken to thaw in the fridge. It takes about 2 days for any of the cuts to thaw (example: breast, thigh, etc). If you are short on time, simply thaw your chicken under running cold water, still in the package, in a clean sink or colander. This takes from 45 min to 3 hrs depending on the size of the cut.
What breed of chicken do you raise?
Cornish/White Rocks, ISA Browns, and Ameraucanas. We raise a few different breeds for different purposes. Our meat chickens are Cornish/ White Rock mixes. The Cornish lineage lends itself to meat tenderness, while the White Rock lineage brings size and a great flavor profile. We have two breeds of egg laying hens. The majority of our egg laying hens are a small version of a New Hampshire Red, known as an ISA Brown. We also raise Ameraucanas because we enjoy their unique appearance and green or blue eggs.
What do your chickens eat?
Our chickens have a varied diet! They eat a wide variety of pasture grasses, “weeds”, crickets, grasshoppers, worms and countless other insects that they find on the pasture. We also feed them Certified Organic Feed. Our feed contains corn, oats, roasted soybeans, and alfalfa.
Do your meat chickens live outside?
Yes! We raise our meat chickens in mobile hoophouse-style shelters on pasture. We move the shelters EVERY morning to fresh pasture so the chickens always have fresh grass and bugs to eat and a clean place to rest. Please see our Facebook page for pictures of the shelters! We are very proud of them, after 3 years of redesigning and tweaking them.
Do your egg laying hens live outside?
Yes! We raise our egg laying hens in a mobile hoophouse-style shelter surrounded by poultry netting. They roost in the shelter at night and forage in the netted area during the day. We move the entire setup (shelter and netting) every week so they are always foraging on fresh grass and bugs.
Do your chickens eat soy-free feed?
Nope. Soy is the protein source in our feed. Since our feed is Certified Organic, the soy is pesticide-free and GMO-free. With chicken feed, you have two options for protein, either soy or fish meal. We choose Organic soy over fish meal because organic soy is a much more sustainable resource than fish meal.
Why is it so expensive?
Costs are high and we are hoping (and pushing) for them to come down. Organic farming infrastructure simply doesn't exist in GA yet. We have no Organic feed mills so we have to get feed shipped from North Carolina at great expense. Georgia has no independent chicken processing facilities so we must drive to Kentucky for processing. These things will change with time. By supporting sustainable livestock farms in GA even though prices are high, you are paving the way for improvements in GA's sustainable farming infrastructure. You are Awesome, Thank You!!
Where is your farm?
Mansfield, GA! We are 45 miles east of Atlanta, near Covington GA. We are proud to be a part of the farm community in Mansfield. Our farm is 10 minutes from Crystal Organic Farm and Burge Organic Farm.