The standard chicken or turkey you purchase from almost every grocery store was raised in a confinement house. What this means is that the bird had an area about the size of an oven to move around in for it’s entire life.
This also means that the bird has more than likely never tasted a worm, rooted around in the fresh grass for bugs and other creepy-crawly things chickens and turkeys like to eat, and they most likely have never seen the light of day. How sad.
THE PROBLEM WITH LABELS
Even if you are selecting poultry labeled “free-range” or “organic” you are more than likely paying extra…for the label.
For poultry to be certified organic, the birds’ feed must be certified from a government agency to contain no unnatural fertilizers or pesticides. The organic label does not ensure these birds are living in satisfactory conditions. They are still more than likely living in small cages, stacked on top of each other, covered in feces and debeaked (to prevent cannibalism and suicide).
The free-range label doesn’t help the birds out either. For poultry to carry the free-range label, the only requirement is that it has to have access to the outdoors…even if all that means is a small door is added to the confinement house and the birds can go scratch around in a bare dirt pen…which it most likely will never do.
The only way to ensure you are purchasing healthy, sustainably and responsibly raised meat is to get to know a farmer. We feel it is very important to have a connection with our food and to see where and how it is grown.
At Crowe About Farm, we firmly believe in raising animals the way they are intended to live. For a chicken or turkey, that means on fresh grass, in the open air and allowed to roam and enjoy all the bugs and grubs they can eat.
We raise our chickens and turkeys on our pasture in “chicken tractors.” These “tractors” are steel pens on wheels with mesh sides. The pens keep the birds safe from predators and the elements, while still allowing them to express their chicken or turkey behaviors.
If you come to the farm to pick up meat or eggs, you will more than likely notice these pens on the pasture.
Not only is this a better environment for the poultry, but because the animal is eating such a nutritious diet, it boosts the nutritional value of the meat.
Each day (or twice a day as the chickens and turkeys grow larger) the pens are moved forward to new, fresh forage. This keeps the birds clean, healthy, and happy all while fertilizing our land.
We feed our birds organic feed, grown and milled less than 10 miles from our house. Our poultry is hormone, steroid and antibiotic free.