Do your birds really go outside and run around and eat bugs?
Yes! Our birds have a mobile shelter with only pasture for a floor and a roomy chicken yard. In the morning and evenings they peck around in the yard. In the hot part of the day, when they like to be in the shade, they usually stay in a shelter, but they can continue to eat the greenery that grows in their shelter. The meat birds never run out of fresh greens because we rotate their pastures, regularly giving them a new yard, and we often move their shelter to fresh ground. Our pasture is planted in rye grass and clover. It doesn’t take them long before they feel at home out in the world. We are not raising meat birds during the winter, but our laying hens are not fenced in, and so they roam the place in all seasons.
Are your birds organic?
We feed our birds grain that has been raised without chemical inputs and we care for their health using natural remedies, such as cider vinegar and raw milk. A healthy lifestyle with fresh air, greens to eat, and a small flock helps maintain their health as well, so we do not need to use antibiotics like conventional producers might. No chemical sprays are used on their pastures, and we work hard to allow them to enjoy the best, healthiest life they can. Our laying hens get table scraps and occasional leftovers from the food co-op. These scraps are largely organic, but a portion of them is probably not. We have not pursued organic certification. If you would like to know more about our work, you’re welcome to come see it. Please let us know if you are coming for a visit.
What do you do with a whole chicken?
Thaw it in the refrigerator, rinse it off, push a cut lemon into the big cavity in its center, toss it in a pan and bake it at 350 degrees. When it has baked for over an hour, press a knife deep into its thigh to see if the juice runs clear. A meat thermometer should read 180°. That is it! You will have an elegant centerpiece for a meal, even if you didn’t think you knew what you were doing when you started. For more ideas, see our recipes page.
We get two meals out of each chicken, and I cannot say enough about the second meal because we make broth from the bones and turn it into soup. You cannot buy anything as good or as nourishing. See my most basic soup recipe.