Let's Talk About Chicken

Did anyone enjoy the Pan Seared Chicken with White Wine sauce from April 11th? I told my good friend Fred that if he had a glass of wine for him, and a glass for the chicken that he'd be happy all evening long.

All kidding aside, the chicken at the store is usually not the same quality as the chicken we raise on the farm, and that's by design.

What is the nature of the farming business? It's to make a profit, the same as any other business. Without profit, you don't have a business.

In order to maximize profit and reduce overhead, the industrial age mindset says that you need to raise more birds, in less space, faster. This however brings a new set of problems.

  • Diseases

  • Birds attacking each other

  • Waste removal

  • Higher mortality rates

  • Destroying eggs

To cope with these problems, many factory chicken and egg operations have to pump chickens up with antibiotics to combat disease, steroids to combat lung issues brought about with poor air quality, growth hormones to encourage the most rapid weight gain, beak removal to stop fighting in the flock and destroying eggs. The waste disposal is still a huge problem with runoff introducing high levels of nitrogen into ponds and waterways.

There are better ways of raising chickens and producing eggs however. The chicken tractor is a way to allow chickens to have fresh grass and bugs each day while minimizing the time they spend around their own manure. Each day this mobile pen moves another space down the pasture and yesterdays trampled and clawed through pasture breaks down the little bit of manure that is there and grows thicker pasture for later.

There is no need for all the antibiotics or steroids because you've eliminated the poor living condition that brought the health issues. No need to remove beaks because the stress isn't there to cause the fighting problems.

What you're left with is a higher quality meat and egg, with less overhead.

The trade-off is that you can't raise as many birds as easily, they may grow a little slower, and the feed cost may be a little more, so the final product costs more per pound, but as a farm fresh consumer isn't the cost worth it for you and your family?

As a conscientious farmer, I want to provide my chickens a life that is safe from predators, but still gives them the outdoor experience that God created them for, so that the balance between pasture and plate is managed productively and honorably, having a pride knowing that the chicken I want for my family is the chicken I want to share with your family.

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