“Humanely Raised, Caged Free and Natural” isn’t just talking points for us. We can back it up!!
There is a trend among large grocery chains and commercial meat producers to throw out terms like “humane” “free-range” “natural” “cage-free”, but is that real? Are they being completely honest or just giving a half-truth. You’re going to have to decide that for yourself, but please do your research. Knowledge is power. You can find pro-articles and non-pro articles on each animal raised for meat when it comes to commercial practices. I can’t speak for any other farm–small or large. But, I can assure you how it is done here!! And you’re more than welcome to come and see for yourself. Try that at a commercial factory farm and see what kind of open house you’ll have. At some facilities you won’t even get on the farm much less inside where the animals are housed.
Since it’s the Thanksgiving season I’ll speak first on our turkeys!! We only raise one flock a year. We take orders for the Thanksgiving turkeys in March so that we can get on the Hatchery’s list and get the baby turkeys in around the end of July. It takes a few months for them to reach the ideal weight for your table. We practice strict bio-security with the baby turkeys due to diseases they are susceptible to, so they stay healthy. We keep them in the brooder for several weeks until their immune system is ready for them to go outside on the pasture. Once on the pasture they are contained in a poultry netting that is electrofied to help keep any predators out. We also keep one of the Livestock Guardian dogs with them for protection. The turkeys will take about 40% of their diet from grasses, leaves and insects giving them and us the benefit of higher Omega 3’s, Vit E, Vit C and Beta Carotene. We move the netting every 2-3 days giving them fresh access to new grasses and insects.
Our chickens that we raise for meat are housed in mobile units that we move across our pasture twice daily giving them access to fresh pasture and it helps keep them clean and out of their own waste. The mobile units are to keep them protected from weather conditions and keep them safe from predators. We also keep one of the dogs with them in the pasture to watch over them. We’ve never lost a bird to predators when the dogs are there.
Our pigs are NOT housed. They have access to shelters to sleep and relax in but that’s it. Our sows when it is time to have piglets will come in a stall so that we can monitor them and have access to the piglets when they are born. We have several pastures set up for the pigs giving each group plenty of room to socialize, graze, root and wallow at will. They are separated in groups by ages and gender.
Our sheep flock is moved to different pastures throughout the year to keep them access to new grasses. In the winter we have about 15 acres of woodland that we put them in for protection from the elements and this gives our pastures a rest for a few months. The cloven hooves of sheep can do a lot of damage to wet ground so we keep them off the pastures during the winter months. This is a time that the ewes are pregnant with next years lambs so they are fed with a high quality hay over the winter and if they need grains they are fed a locally milled grain mixture.
Last but certainly not least is our laying flock of chickens for our eggs. They have access pretty much to the entire farm. They roam around our yard, barn and pastures at will. They keep all the bugs and spiders from getting into my house!!! They dust bathe, sun bathe, peck and eat whatever they want—they’re slightly spoiled, but make the best eggs!!!
I welcome you to stop by and see how we raise our animals—cage free–YES, naturally–YES, free-range–YES, humane—YES and we can prove it!!