Entries in Pastured Poultry (73)

Thursday
Mar192015

Spring 2015 Pastured Poultry Orders NOW OPEN

Pasture Raised Organic Fed Chicken

SOLD OUT - Thank You for your Support!

We do reserve some birds to allow a cushion during processing and growing.  If you would like to be notified if we have bonus birds after processing, fill out the form below. We'll contact you once we know exact numbers available.  


Order now for fresh pasture raised organic fed chicken from Synergistic AcresIt is time once again to order your fresh organic fed pasture raised chickens. This year, we plan on raising all of our chickens in two large batches - one in the spring and one in the fall. We are doing this to avoid the heat of the summer with our chickens. It will be important to consider this when you order chickens - there will be 21 weeks between our two batches.  This batch will be available in June and the other batch approximately in late October.

Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy eating the chicken and all the goodies (liver, hearts, gizzards) I bought.  I can taste the difference between yours and store bought!

Thanks for all your hard work and research in making it possible for other people to enjoy your food, it's nice eating clean food fresh from your farm!  Looking forward to MORE good eating!

- Suzie

We will once again raise three types of birds - each with their own special niche in our dining palettes.

 

Synergistic Acres raises three types of meat chickens, which one is best for you?The Cornish Cross has become the standard American Broiler for most American families. It grows quickly and produces lots of juicy, tender breast meat. Our Cornish Cross birds are similar in shape to the bird you would buy at the grocery store, but that is where the similarities end.  Even an organic chicken is MUCH different than an organic fed chicken raised on pasture! Organic chicken from the store is not raised outside, little less on green nutritious pastures.   Because of how we choose to raise the birds - outside and on fresh pasture daily, they become an entirely different bird from industrial-raised chicken. The magic of clean sunshine and cleansing grass ensures that these are healthier and more flavorful than any industrial bird you have ever tasted. $4.75/# (average 3 - 4#) AVAILABLE JUNE

The Prairie Ranger chicken that we raise come from traditional French lineage. Since the 1960’s, French farmers have focused on raising a gourmet strand of bird that is suited well for foraging outdoors and developing excellent meat characteristics. While the Cornish Cross was selected over many years to be able to grow lots of juicy white meat, the Prairie Ranger chicken was designed to have a more complex and firm meat. They take much longer to grow out and this slower growth enhances the flavor and texture of the meat. The meat will be darker and slightly more firm with longer legs and less breast meat.  This is our family's favorite chicken! $5.45/# (averages 4#) AVAILABLE JUNE 

graduation from brooder to pasture is an exciting day!Heritage Breed Roosters are an exciting offering. We raise two distinct breeds of birds that have been around for decades providing Americans with great tasting chicken dinners. We are breeding these birds to bring back some of the fantastic flavor that has been lost over the years without sacrificing all the great things our modern chicken has to offer. We are carefully selecting the best from our flock to produce a very unique and special line of birds that we will raise for customers looking for the ultimate in heritage meats.  $5.45/# (averages 4-5#) AVAILABLE APRIL

The two breeds used in developing our heritage breed roosters are:

  • The Barred Rock is the traditional American Meat bird. Until World War II it was by far the most popular chicken in the USA for the frying pan. Most would consider this their Grandma’s Chicken. Its popularity came from its ability to create great tasting meat from free ranging on natural diets. If you loved Grandma’s chicken as a kid, then it was likely a Barred Rock you remember.  We raise Barred Rocks for both egg production and meat.
  • The Buckeye is an endangered breed that we have started breeding on our farm. It has all of the characteristics and qualities that we look for in quality heritage breeds. It thrives in our climate, forages well and is very hardy. We also raise Buckeyes for both egg production and meat.

 

 

yes, chickens really do eat grass - and we think it makes a healthier chickenWe raise our chickens out on PASTURE. They begin their lives in a secure indoor brooder where we can ensure they have the warmth and protection they need. As soon as they are able to thrive outdoors, we move them out to pasture into moveable pasture pens. These pens are designed to protect the chickens and give them shelter from the weather while ensuring they have 24 hour exposure to fresh air and green grass for the rest of their lives. These pens are moved at least twice a day to fresh, clean, nourishing grass which the chickens eagerly devour!

First, I wanted to tell you how much we have LOVED the Prairie Ranger chickens we picked up earlier this spring.  The meat is tender and very flavorful!  Thanks again for a great product!

- Nancy

 

All of our chickens are supplemented an organic, local milled grain that come from farmers right here in Kansas.  Their feed is GMO free and contains only whole grains, minerals and sea kelp for added nutrition and health.  

Synergistic Acres freshly processed frozen chickens stay fresh in bpa-free bagsWhen you buy a chicken from Synergistic Acres, you will receive a whole chicken (including neck) packaged in BPA-free plastic sealed bag.  Gizzards, livers, feet, hearts or other parts may be requested and are generally sold by the pound. Chickens picked up on the day of processing will be fresh. Later pick-ups or deliveries will be frozen. Our farm fresh chickens will store in the freezer for up to six months with no loss of freshness.

To ensure we raise enough chickens, you first pre-order on our site, choosing a month from those listed.  After pre-ordering, you mail in a deposit of $5 per bird.  We will email you details for the timing of your order if you’d like to visit the farm and get the freshest chicken possible.

Thanks for delivering the MOST FANTASTIC chicken!  What a grand meal we had yesterday!!!

- Debbie

your chickens are raised on pasture in these protective portable 'chicken tractors' that we've built specially for themIf not available on processing day, you can come down later to pick up your chicken on the farm or arrange to pick it up in the city. Generally, we deliver to Lenexa on Wednesdays. Other days may be able to be worked out as needed.  The balance of your payment is due at the time you receive your chickens. Then, you are all set to enjoy some delicious and nutritious naturally raised farm fresh chicken!

 

If you have any trouble viewing the form below - go directly to our Natural Pasture Raised Meats tab above.

 

 

 

Sunday
Mar012015

Raising and Butchering Chickens Workshop

Raising and Processing Pasture Raised Chickens on Any Scale

Saturday March 21, 2015 8a-4pm

 

Chickens are an iconic part of the family farmstead and have even evolved to be a popular and valuable part of suburban, urban and rural areas of Kansas City. Chickens have gained this status because they are immensely useful and important. 

In this workshop, we will cover all the basics of raising chickens from brooding new chicks all the way to butchering and preparing them for meat.   All topics will be taught hands-on with examples of what has worked on our farm along with plentiful anecdotes of things that haven't turned out so well.  We will have birds in all stages of development, so you will get to see exactly what it could look like on your farm.  We will give clear examples of how this can be managed at a working-farm scale like ours all the way down to the homestead minded person just keeping a flock for their family.

Topics will include:

  • Choosing breeds of chicksand turkeys (meat birds and egg layers)
  • Raising Turkeys on your farm - differences from chickens
  • Brooding chicks and poults
  • Feed rations, options, and schedules
  • How, when, and why of pasture raising chickens and turkeys
  • Raising egg layers on pasture
  • Keeping Heritage Turkeys on Pasture
  • Dealing with predators
  • Humane slaughter; butchering; packaging
  • Regulations
  • Waste disposal

 The class will be divided into two sessions.  The morning session will be a hands-on chicken butchering workshop. Each person will have to the opportunity to learn each step of butchering a chicken and then be able to butcher their own heritage chicken to take home after class.  You will get to see how to butcher using modern commercial equipment such as automatic scalders, dunkers and pluckers as well as how to do it with minimal equipment that you would have at your own home.  

 

The afternoon session will include a hands-on tour of each step of the chicken raising journey as well as a guided tour of the farm seeing the brooder, the pasture pens, the egg mobile, electric netting, etc.  We will also look at how turkeys fit into our farm's poultry operation. There will be a short"classroom" setting where we talk about the finances involved with raising poultry, marketing ideas, and the laws surrounding poultry in Kansas.

 

In-between the sessions there will be a full lunch with pasture raised meat from our farm where we will be able to sit down and talk farming with other lunatic farmers. 

 

You may choose to attend either of the sessions individually or you may attend both sessions for the whole picture on pasture raised Poultry.  If attending both sessions, the cost is $100, a savings of $25!

 

Morning Session - How to Butcher a Chicken (8-11am) $75

When finished, you will have the skills needed to butcher your own chicken in a humane and respectful way.  In addition to learning the steps, you will complete the entire butchering process on an organic fed Heritage chicken that you will be able to take home to share with your family ($25 value).

Lunch (12-1) Included in the price of either session

Lunch will be served farm style with pasture raised meat from our farm.  It will be a time to visit, get to know each other, share ideas and ask questions.  

Afternoon Session - Raising Chicken for Meat and Eggs (1-4pm) $50

This portion of the class will be focused on learning how to raise healthy and productive chickens. We will start by learning all of the details for brooding your birds from newly hatched chicks.  Then, we'll discuss the important factors for transitioning your birds to pasture and what differences exist if you are raising them for meat or eggs.  You will get to see up close the different shelters we use for each and we will discuss construction details including what has worked and what has not worked in our farm experience.  We will discuss how chickens fit within the overall structure of our farm's systems by cleaning up parasites behind the cattle and by intensively fertilizing targeted pasture areas.  We will wrap-up with a classroom session where we will discuss marketing your products and local laws affecting the selling of your products.

This workshop will be outside so dress accordingly.  Although you may be surprised at how clean you stay during the chicken butchering portion of the workshop, you may want to dress in layers so you can peel your top layer off when that portion of the workshop is done. Waterproof footwear is suggested for all participants.

To register for this class, please click here and fill out the form.  The form will include directions for payment.  

There are very limited spots available, so register early to ensure avaliability.

   

Register Here For Class

Friday
Nov072014

Visit your Farmer - More of a DEMAND than a REQUEST

When we first started our journey towards healthy food nearly a decade ago, we never thought about a farmer being the key to our food. We simply knew which store it came from. Then we decided that buying straight from the farm would be better. We did this. However, we were still naive and didn't ask many questions. For instance, we bought our beef in bulk for several years from a farmer we believed sold grass-fed beef. It wasn't until after visiting the farm after a few years of purchasing bulk beef that we found he does feed "just a little grain at the end." We were very surprised, for years the meat we thought we had been getting was not completely as advertised.

Fast forward 10 or so years and we feel we are much more sophisticated in seeing food choices. This afterall - is our life. This is why we were VERY DISAPPOINTED recently when we visited another local farm. We had heard they were having a family field day and we had followed this farm online and several of our customers have bought from them since they are very convenient and sell at a large local market.  We were SUPER EXCITED to meet fellow like-minded farmers.

We spent a very busy Saturday busting out an entire weekends worth of chores so we could spend the Sunday traveling and visiting the farm. The farm was over 2 hours away, but, as I said, we were excited to go.

Once we got there we were surprised at what we saw. This farm says it raises pastured pork, chicken and beef. However, what we saw was very different. Instead of pigs being raised on pasture, we saw dozens and dozens of pigs being raised in small mud lots with no pasture access. The only thing pastured about these pigs is that the pens they were housed in were close enough to see the pasture. These pigs have NEVER been on pasture. They lived in small dirt pens and were fed a diet solely of corn. Now, I am not making a judgement based on how the pigs are raised. The pigs didn't seem particularly unhappy, unhealthy or mistreated. However, they were not on pasture as advertised on their website, emails and in person. In fact, their website was particularly misleading since it included many photos that were not taken on their farm at all. A quick Google image search showed several of the pictures on their farm website were actually taken from other farms' websites.

Additionally, many of the items they sell at the market were not even raised by them. They sell "pasture raised" chickens and turkeys -- however, our visit showed no signs of those animals on the farm at all. They had a few egg laying chickens running around their farm that were in full molt -- nowhere near enough to sell the hundreds of eggs they sell each week at the market. Obviously, much of the food being sold under their farms name are being raised by other farmers.

It is not my intention in this post to disparage another farmer and I have intentionally been vague enough to not incriminate any particular farmer. There is not anything inherently wrong with the way these animals were being raised. However, customers are likely not buying what they think they are buying. In fact, I KNOW, several of our customers often buy from this other farm because their prices are a little cheaper, they are a little more convenient and they have more consistent inventory. However, these customers have VISITED OUR FARM -- seen how WE raise our pigs on pasture, in constantly rotated paddocks, seen our chickens who are moved to fresh grass 2x a day, seen our hens that lay our eggs -- AND THEN GO BUY FROM THIS OTHER FARM THINKING ITS THE SAME THING -- IT'S NOT!

It is IMPERATIVE that you insist on visiting any farm with whom you are establishing a connection. DO NOT rely solely on their website, their Facebook page or their slick talk. The only way to know for sure what you are buying is what you want to buy is to visit them. If they give any excuses as to why you cannot visit their farm, be immediately wary. Far too many farms hide behind claims of biosecurity, or liability insurance, or hectic schedules. However, visiting and seeing up close and personal your food being raised is one of the primary tenets that separates slow food from industrial agriculture.

We make a systematic point on our farm to ask every customer to come visit the farm. We have an open-door policy that encourages customers to come see our animals and our farming practices. When they visit, we are glad to show them exactly what we feed our animals, the areas they are raised in and the care that they are given. Our customers support the farm generously and giving them open and free access is part of what they purchase when they support our farm.  We give DOZENS of farm tours to HUNDREDS of customers every year.

In addition, we bring people to our farm virtually nearly everyday with real life photos. Every photo we share is of OUR farm. When you are looking at the pictures of farms, look to see if they are showing you wide views or only very close cropped pictures that are likely giving you a deceiving overall view. Video can also give you a more realistic view of what their farm is like. Ask questions about what you see. If you see a farmer is offering a product that you never see pictures of -- ask them about it. If you see the pictures don't show examples throughout their lifespan, ask them about them. It might be they are not on the farm their entire lives.

Ultimately, information is power. We have been trained to believe that farmers are trustworthy. However, I unfortunately know of MANY examples where farmers misrepresent the food they are selling. There are MANY great farmers out there as well. However, I can't encourage people enough to make the investment in time and energy to go and visit their Farmer. We are talking about one of the most important things in your life -- your food!

Know your farmer, know your food.

On a related note -- We will be having two tours coming up on our Farm in conjunction with people picking up their Thanksgiving Turkey.  (did you know we had made a few more turkeys available if you haven't preordered yet -- it's not too late!)    The tours will be on Sunday, November 16th, and Sunday, November 23rd at 3:00pm,  The tours will include a narrated hayride tour where you will get to see exactly how every animal on our farm is raised. Drop us a line and let us know if you are coming, so we can make sure we have enough haybales set out on the wagons.  We'd love to have you!

 

 

Saturday
Aug022014

Help Wanted!

Fall is a particularly busy season on the farm.  Many of the farm activiites begin ramping up as the surplus of the summer transitions into preparation for the winter.  

One of the activities that will take up an immense amount of time during the fall months is processing chickens and turkeys.  During the months of October and November, we will be preparing hundreds and hundreds of birds for our loyal customers to enjoy.  

We have developed our routines and procedures and we have become quite efficient as a family in the processing of these birds and we are now looking to find an additional person to include in this processing.  While we often have people come out and experience a processing day, this opportunity is a little different.  In this case, we are looking for someone to commit to helping during each of our turkey and chicken processing days.  This will be five to six Saturdays during October and November.  In exchange for their help, we will be offering them a season of chicken dinners -- (25 chickens and a turkey).  

It is our hope that having a consistent helper with processing will allow us to be even more efficient in our processing.  The helper will be doing a variety of jobs depending on the what works out the best.  They may be doing some or all of the following:  loading and unloading crates of chickens from the trailer, plucking the birds, eviscerating the birds, helping with the quality control of the birds, labeling and weighing of the birds, cleaning-up.

A typical day will start for the team around 7:30 am and go until 4 - 5pm with a nice lunch break in the middle.

If you are interested in this, send us an email and we can discuss the details and see if this is something we can pursue together.

Wednesday
May212014

we have a new mama hen with chicks!

You might think after thousands of chicks, they would cease to be exicting - but they aren't!  This chick story is even a bit different than the ones we usually raise.  It started last winter during some rotations of our pasture raised egg layer chickens.  We generally move the layer flock to fresh pasture every week and they typically follow the cattle so they can integrate the manure as they scratch and forage.  Their winter pastures happened to be within sight of the barn for several rotations and apparently, two hens decided to adopt the barn as their roost - instead of the mobile roost to which they were accustomed.  

As we continued to move the mobile roost to fresh pastures, these two hens continued to return to the barn to lay their eggs and eventually began to roost there at night.  Several times, I tried returning them to their flock, but they repeatedly trekked across the farm to return to the barn.  So they became 'front yard flock' chickens, joining our small group that free ranges around the yard.  No problem, really.  We named them Mary and Methelsda and enjoyed seeing them with the front yard flock.

In April, Methelsda quickly became broody, which means she began to sit as if on a nest of eggs - thus brooding them to hatch.  The unfortunate detail is that she was sitting on an empty nest.  After a couple days of checking on her and seeing that she really was sitting on the nest day and night (many hens will sit for a few hours a day), we decided to put a few eggs under her.  We selected a variety of eggs from our layer flock, which are likely to be fertile, and put them by her nest.  Methelsda immediately began stretching out her neck and gently nudging the eggs with her beak to tuck them under her breast and body.  Once all ten eggs were under her, she gave a dramatic fluff of her feathers and settled down to the business of brooding.

She would get up just once or twice a day for a quick drink and bathroom break and we provided a special bit of food for her, right by her nest.  She diligently sat and sat.  For 21 days.  

On the 20th day, I happened to catch her at a time when she was not on her nest so I peeked at the eggs.  I saw some shells pipped, indicating a chick was starting to hatch!  And I could distinctly hear cheeping coming from inside the eggs!

Over the next two days, 8 chicks hatched.  It is so exciting to see a group of chicks being raised by a mama hen.  They are doing reall well, scurrying after Mama, learning to scratch and forage.  They have safely met the barn cat, the rowdy puppies, the pigs and the rest of the flock.  Methelsda is taking them all over the farm without any hesitation and surprisingly (to us), the tiny chicks manage to keep up with her.  

We hope they get to meet you when you come to visit the farm!

 

Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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