We processed our first batch of chickens - our slow growing, pasture raised Prarie Rangers. These birds had done fantastic on pasture and as a result had grown exceptionally well. We had several birds in the 7-pound range and had nearly zero under 5 pounds. We were very happy with this because we know several of our very loyal chicken customers like for the birds to be exceptionally big. One of our customers commented they were more like small turkeys than chickens. She was excited to possibly have leftovers for her large, healthy family.
One of the greatest things about processing chickens is the community feel it involves. We have our core team of Laura, and I and both girls helping along with both Laura's and my parents. We were able to get our 100 birds processed and the area cleaned up in good time.
Entries in Pastured Poultry (71)
Spring is an exciting time as we change from the slow, intense pace of the cold winter to the frantic and chaotic pace that often comes with spring. It never fails. We feel very prepared, rested and rejuvenated after Winter. However, as soon as the grass starts turning green (and man is it turning green!) suddenly that feeling of preparedness evaporates and we immediately feel that we are suddenly behind. That's because green grass is a very tangible signal that many things are about to get busier.
The first and very busy thing that has changed is our first batch of chicks arrived in the mail. Each year at this time we start receiving new chicks that we will grow on pasture to butcher in early summer. The first batch we got was our Prairie Rangers. These are our slowest growing broilers, so they are the ones we start with. Before they arrived, we had to get the brooder prepared after a long period of inactivity over the winter. Equipment had to be checked, supplies cleaned and things arranged. Once they arrive, a whole new list of chores of feeding, watering, and checking get added to our daily routines. However, chicks are more than just work. They are also a celebration. Our girls love getting a few chicks and playing with them in the yard, in the sandbox sometimes even in the house. These chicks will be out of the brooder and into the pasture in just a couple weeks - and then our next batch will arrive. The brooder will be kept busy with chicks and turkey poults for the next several months.
The cows have also started causing us a little more work. They LOVE the return of green grass. They seem to get tired of the dry, crunchy hay and yearn for the lush, soft, green grass. It seems to instill a certain amount of orneriness in them and we have spent several days lately readjusting the cattle from the pastures they think they should be in -- to the paddocks we have assigned for them.One very nice thing about spring though is the return of temps above 32 degrees. This has meant we have been able to start using the watering system again, at least for the cattle. This means that now water is brought to them automatically and on-demand at any time instead of us having to haul water out to them in large several hundred gallons tanks. This saves us time, is best for the cattle and is also more gentle on the land -- a win for all. Now if we can just have guessed right and can avoid below 20 degree temps for the rest of the season.
Overall, Spring is more excitement than work and any work involved we are ready for. Our farming is very connected to nature and the natural cycles of the seasons. This natural cycle seems to be well suited to keep us excited, invigorated, and ready for the challenges of the farm.
Winter has "so far" turned out to be pretty mild. The greatest part has been the sprinkling of nice days that have consistently interrupted the cold spells that have shown up. This has allowed us to get a lot work done on the farm beyond the daily subsistence type chores. This weekend was filled with a couple of these bonus jobs that we might not have been able to do if we had been dealing with the extra work of extreme temperatures or snow.
One big job that was completed was we moved a bunch of next year's layers out to the pasture flock. These were chicks that we hatched this fall and had been living with our front yard girls until they were old enough to start working in the pastures. Combining groups of chickens always involves a 'getting to know you' phase of the two groups. Although chickens can be somewhat resistant to making new friends -- we have found when given the right amount of space, they do just fine. Pecking order needs to be established, but that can be done fairly quickly and then they act just like a flock that's always been together.
Another job that got done was building a new paddock and moving our breeding pigs into that pasture. We keep our boy and girls separate and only put our breeding stock together when we want to have piglets. Today, we put our two sows and boar together. This should lead to piglets in June sometime. Pig gestation time is 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days and 3 hours. Large Blacks typically have 8-10 piglets in a litter. You might want to set aside sometime to come visit the farm in late June to see some cute piglets!
We find there are several reasons people buy their food from us.
1) Welfare of the Animals
2) Healthfulness of the Food
3) Amazing taste of the Food
4) Farm Fresh and Local
Most of our customers buy from us for some medley of the above reasons. Although most are aware of all of these positives -- most customers have one of the above reasons that outweighs all of the others. The one that if I asked, "Why do you choose our meat to feed your family?" it would be their answer.
But the reality is a little more complex than that. All of these things are intertwined and reliant on the others. Our animals do live a fantastic life just as they would in nature -- outside in harmony with nature. This produces an incredibly nutritious meat because the animal has eaten the food on which it has evolved to flourish - therefore, keeping it's own body in balance and creating the most nourishing food possible.
This healthy balanced food also has an amazing taste for those very same reasons -- it's diverse and nature-chosen food sources create complex and deep taste sensations that go beyond the bland meat we have become used to buying at the store and having to work a virtual magic show of spices and rubs to give it flavor. Meat raised correctly already has this flavor in every bite.
Raising food this way takes immense effort however and can only be accomplished on small local farms that sell directly to the consumer. Large industrial scale agriculture simply cannot care for the animals in the way locally supported farms can. By knowing the farmer directly, you are able to buy the food very conveniently and stock up for the season.
So although you may choose to buy Synergistic Acres' Meat because of one reason above all others, please know that as an added bonus, you are also accomplishing a lot of other goals all at once.
Why do you buy your food from us?