We take great care in raising and producing healthy, humanely raised chickens.
- No antibiotics, steroids or hormones, DRUG-FREE.
- Raised on our sheltered, airy farm brooder to 3 weeks of age
- From 3 weeks on, live in portable shelters on managed pasture.
- Moved daily to new areas of fresh grass.
- All-natural diet high in grass and bugs.
- Supported by GMO-FREE feed from local producers/mill.
- Harvested humanely, by hand, on our farm under VA exemption.
We get our broiler chickens as day old chicks from Ridgeway Hatchery delivered to us. For the first 3 weeks they live in our brooder house. A brooder house is basically a building set up as a chicken nursery. The baby chicks are too fragile in these early weeks to survive outdoors and must be constantly checked. The brooder house has a deep bedding of wood shavings on the floor that we freshen for every batch. This builds up a deep anaerobic pack of compost we can spread on the pasture at the proper times, efficiently recycling our farm on a continual basis.
Inside the brooder we keep the chicks warm (around 95 degrees) and have feed and water close by. We use a custom blended ration of feed produced by Sunrise Farms located in Stuarts Draft, VA. The grains used are GMO –FREE verities of corn, oats, soybeans, and peanuts. Fish meal is used to provide additional protein and a mix of minerals and vitamins is added. We never add hormones, steroids or antibiotics, a practice that is commonplace in conventional chicken feed.
When the birds are close to 3 weeks old, we catch the chicks and take them out to pasture. We use a Polyface style shelter that holds about 80 birds. The shelters measure 10’x12’ and are about 2” tall. With aluminum sheet metal on the top and half of the sides it provides shelter from the sun and rain. Chicken wire on the balance of the shelter keeps the predators out and the chicks in!
The shelters (and the chickens inside) are moved every day to fresh grass. If you watch closely, you can see the birds run into the new spot and start plucking the grass and eating it. We harvest the birds at seven to ten weeks of age depending on what kind of chicken we want. 7 weeks for a nice 3-4 pound roaster or up to 10 weeks for larger cuts such as breast & tenders, leg & thigh, etc. We humanely process the birds on farm, by hand.
Broiler chickens are a seasonal production for us. It is way too cold for the birds in the winter and the pastures are dormant. All the manure put down by the chickens wouldn’t be metabolized by the soil (because it’s frozen) and we enjoy having some time off too!
We stock up the freezers from the bounty of the summer so we do have chicken available year round.