Pasture Raised or Pastured Poultry

Pasture Raised or Pastured Poultry

Pasture Raised or Pastured Poultry

We have received several questions from customers asking if our eggs and chickens are pasture raised or are pastured poultry. In the spring, summer and fall all of our poultry are pasture raised (pastured poultry).

Pasture raised or pastured poultry is a term that means that the birds are raised on and have access to fresh grass/pasture during the growing season. This method of growing chickens has recently become more and more visible due to an increase in interest and a surge in documentaries, websites and videos about small scale pasture based farming. Since 1996 have always raised our chickens on pasture in the late spring, summer and fall.

When we first started selling our organic chickens and eggs, we labeled and advertised them as pastured poultry. This was still a very new and unknown idea on how to raise poultry and the majority of consumers thought that we were pasteurizing our eggs and meat. These are two very different things and so to prevent this confusion we changed our label and started calling our chickens and eggs free range which was a term that more people were familiar with.

In the late spring the hens and chickens are moved into outdoor movable shelters with attached ranges, where they will live until the late fall. These shelters and ranges are moved every day onto fresh grass. Here they can eat the fresh grass and scratch and dig for bugs, grubs and worms. Their ranges are covered with tin roofs so that they are protected from birds of prey, strong rain and the hot summer sun. The hens are provided with lots of nesting boxes, and both our hens and chickens have perches where they can rest and relax, clean water and nutritious certified organic feed.

In Alberta laying hens and chickens are not able to be outside in the winter due to our cold and unpredictable weather. To protect our birds and keep them healthy and happy they are moved indoors. Our hens and chickens live inside a warm barn that has lots of windows where they are given plenty of natural sunlight. This allows them to bask in the sunlight and helps them maintain their normal rhythms of day and night.  In the darkest months of the year we provide them with the same amount of light as the summer.  We do not use artificial lighting programs to try and create more days in a year so that they will grow faster or lay more eggs. Wood shavings are spread in the barn by hand in order to ensure that they have clean bedding. The hens have lots of nesting boxes to use and all birds are given perches where they can rest. Water is spaced throughout the barn so they are always close to water. We add dried organic alfalfa grass to their feed in both the winter and the summer. This ensures that they get their greens throughout the year.

We strongly believe that animals should be treated with respect and that they have the right to a life as stress free as possible. This includes access to the pasture for our hens and chickens. We believe that this is healthier for them and also healthier for us.

Your Farmers

Ron and Sheila Hamilton

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