Here’s a look at our laying hens and meat chickens on our pastures.
There’s nothing prettier or more enjoyable than seeing any of our livestock foraging. It’s healthy for our chickens to be outside foraging. They are in the open air, in sunshine and rain, wind and even snow. They find bugs and earthworms that supplement their certified organic grain ration. And, they dine on everything from grass and clover to dandelion, dock and lambsquarter. Plus, chickens like to be busy in a diverse landscape with plenty of room to scratch and search for any extra morsel. All of this contributes to a healthy, pastured life for our chickens. And, healthy delicious food for our family and customers.
For shelter and protection from weather and predators, our chickens have a spacious hoophouse – one for meat chickens and one for laying hens. The hoophouses are home base and we have movable poultry netting to rotate the chickens into different grazing areas. Since the hens can’t always keep up with the rapid growth of grass during the warm months, our grassfed beef herd with play clean up crew and happily graze down anything our hens can’t handle. While the hens prefer short forage, our beef herd readily tears off long blades of orchard grass and fescue.
We spend a great deal of time keeping our chickens happy and secure. Pasturing livestock takes extra time and management. There is no climate control, no thermostat to keep the temperature just right. There is weather in all forms, snow in the winter and frozen water, predators year round waiting for us to make a mistake. But, we could never raise our chickens or any livestock without access to the great outdoors. And, once you’ve seen how much animals need to have their feet in touch with the earth and sky over their heads, you can’t raise them any other way.