We love our chicks!
I know this is a very bold claim to make, but I am going to explain how our chicken at Little Falls Farm is truthfully some of the best chicken you can find nutritionally and qualitatively. There are many factors in raising chicken, from the food they eat to where they live. Here at Little Falls Farm we give our chickens a happy life, thus the reason we call them #happychickens.
Before I tell you about the best chicken ever, I want to empower you with some knowledge and insight into the poultry industry. The chicken you see in the supermarket is quite different from the ones your local sustainable conscientious small-scale farmer is producing.
The Commercial Poultry Industry Reality
Commercial Poultry Farming
Don’t be fooled by the label. According to the USDA.gov website, “for the claim Free Range on poultry products, the documentation must describe the housing conditions for the birds and demonstrate continuous, free ACCESS to the outside throughout their normal growing cycle.” ACCESS to the outside and LIVING outside are two very different things. These chickens can still be raised in overcrowded dirty hen houses with ACCESS to the outside through a small opening and there are no requirements for the “outside” environment. Is it a concrete pad? Is it a large or small area? Does it have fresh grass? Just because they have access does not mean any of them will actually go outside, especially since they have continual food and water inside the hen house.
And what about the label Cage Free? According to USDA.gov, “Cage free means chickens were never confined to cages during raising.” You can watch a short eye-opening video of actual Cage Free hens laying Cage Free eggs. They may not be “confined to cages”, but they are still confined in a large hen house. Eggs laid by true Pasture Raised hens have been studied nutritionally and have proven to contain Vitamin D (from the sunshine), plus more Iron, Calcium, and Potassium than hens raised in a henhouse without sunlight, fresh grass, bugs, and room to forage. The photo below shows a Cage Free egg from the grocery store next to an egg from one of our Pasture Raised hens. I hope you can see the amazing difference in color. Pasture raised eggs have a deep orange hue, whereas grocery store eggs pale in comparison.
“Industrial eggs are washed in a chlorine bath. Since the shells are permeable, some of that chlorine enters the egg. This is standard food safety protocol.”
Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
Sunrise on the farm
Our chickens are moved onto fresh grass at about three weeks of age. They live happily in floorless mobile coops, called chicken tractors. Every day we move our chickens onto fresh pasture, which allows them to forage, scratch, and roam naturally. It is important to note that giving them plenty of space, fresh air, and sunshine makes for happier healthier chickens and a cleaner environment overall.
Why do we move our chickens?
Couldn’t they just free range in one particular area? Moving them daily (or even twice daily) means they are not allowed to stay in an area with their own excrement. This is important for their health and eventually your health, too. Moving them daily is also good for the soil, adding just the right amount of fertilizer at one time. Chicken manure contains all 13 of the essential nutrients that are used by plants, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium.
You are what you eat.
We feed our chickens a 22% protein healthy non-gmo feed that does not contain corn. The ingredients of their feed are sorghum, hard grain wheat, calcium carbonate, vegetable fat, kelp meal, DL-methionine (amino acid), sesame seed, wheat germ, and added vitamins. Our chickens happily forage for bugs and gobble up grass. All of this nutrition adds up to more nutrient-dense poultry for you.
Mobile Chicken Tractors
Have you ever looked at the ingredients of that whole chicken you purchased at the grocery store? Maybe you thought, “I can see this is a chicken. Why do I need to read the ingredients?” Commercial poultry producers do something called “plumping” in which they inject a water solution that has salt and/or other flavorings to enhance the look and flavor of their chicken. Their ingredient list will typically say, “CONTAINS Up to 12% chicken broth, sea salt, natural flavorings.” If the chicken you bought weighed 4lbs then about 1/2lb of that is the water solution, so you really bought a 3.5 lb chicken. Thankfully we don’t need to enhance the flavor of our chicken with salt water, so when you purchase a 4lb chicken it really is a 4lb chicken that tastes great and is nutritionally dense without additives.
Are you ready to try the best chicken ever?
Here are some of the different ways you can reach us to purchase any of our farm products, including jams, eggs, sauces, spices, and #happychicken:
- Message us through facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathryn.trainor/
- Follow us on instagram for special farm market days https://www.instagram.com/littlefallsfarmcolumbia/
- Email us at [email protected]