We raise chickens!
If you’re reading around the website you probably already know that, but I want you to know the what, why and how of our operation. We raise local, organically fed, pastured, Cornish Rock cross chickens. There is a WHOLE lot of information in those few descriptive words and I would love to explain it to you, so if you like to know all about how your chickens are raised, read on!
LOCAL: One of our values is the creation and sustaining of a local economy. We want our customer base to be in middle Tennessee and pick up their birds from the farm on the day of processing. This means that they don’t live very far away and are supporting us, a local business, who in turn supports local businesses for supplies and feed. The more money we keep in the community, the better our community and the more likely my local economy will thrive, creating even less need to go outside the area for supplies. This even applies to our feed and feed supplements which come from less than thirty-five miles away from the farm. We also process your birds on the farm for no charge if you desire. Unfortunately, one caveat in this whole local thing is the lack of local chick or egg suppliers. There are no hatcheries in TN that sell to the general public, so we have to order chicks from outside the area.
ORGANICALLY FED: We have an incredible opportunity to be able to purchase Certified Organic grain that is local to our farm. While this feed is considerably more expensive than its conventional equivalent, it represents some of our personal values in that it is cultivated according to strict guidelines and the exclusion of toxic chemicals. Not only that, but this feed contains no GMO! In my opinion, GMO is probably the worst thing to happen to agriculture in the history of the world. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, and is a patentable process in which DNA from different organisms, not necessarily in the same family, genus or species, is spliced together. One example would be where corn is modified to be able to withstand a chemical poison spray to control insects. Doesn’t sound so bad until you look at how much of that chemical is absorbed into the plant and ultimately ingested by the consumer. Certified organic grain contains none of this and is cultivated mechanically, either by machinery or by good old back-breaking labor, which increases the cost due to labor, but creates a much healthier and more nutritious product. Our chickens are fed this feed from the time we get them until harvest. Our feed supplement is Fertrell’s Nutri-Balancer or Crystal Creek Poultry Pro.
PASTURED: While the organic chicken you buy at the grocery may give you warm fuzzy feelings, most likely it was raised in the same environmental conditions as the conventional product next to it. Current organic regulations require that the chickens “have access to the outdoors”. Now glean from that what you will, but a small outdoor area that is no more than a airish dirt run is not what I picture as a healthy environment. In addition to that, they only need access to the outdoors from week 3 on, which means that by the time they are provided the access, they are unlikely to take advantage of it since it is a complete unknown. We, on the other hand, like to use the term “beyond organic” in our description! Our chickens are started in a brooder that is outside and are in the fresh air and sunshine from the time they arrive. When they are old enough to withstand the elements (about two weeks old), they are placed in a protective pen that is moved to fresh grass daily or twice daily and provided all the fresh water and feed they can consume. We can verify that the pasture the birds are raised on has had no chemicals or fertilizers of any kind for at least ten years. It has been mechanically maintained (meaning that I have mowed it) and that is all.
CORNISH ROCK CROSS: This is the breed of chicken that we raise at this time. These little guys grow from teeny chicks to nice sized roasters in seven to nine weeks.