Wholesome Harvest CSA

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Freedom Ranger Broiler Chickens

We raise a breed of chicken known as the Freedom Ranger. They were bred specifically for a program in France called “label rouge” This system was designed to ensure a higher flavored higher quality product to consumers as well as ensure high standards of animal welfare. This makes them an ideal bird for our free range organic production on our farm.

Freedom Rangers grow at a moderate rate which is at a much slower pace than the modern meat chicken. Slower growth allows their body to fill out correctly and avoids almost all the health problems found in broiler chickens today. More time to grow also allows more time for them consume and enjoy the natural pastures they live in. They are excellent foragers and excel at taking in pasture as a major part of their feed source.

They may require a bit more care and more time to grow but we feel the finished product is well worth the wait and added nutrients in the final product.

Pasture and Feed

Our broilers are raised on our highly diverse pasture lands. They are free to scavenge about the soil digging up bug’s seeds and enjoy the new succulent lower growth of the pasture grasses and legumes. In addition to their daily pasture forage our broilers are given a wide variety of green vegetables from the farm. As poultry can only consume about 30% of their feed intake from pasture and greens we also provide them with high quality organic grains to peck through as they see fit.

All feed is certified organic including pastures, grains, and other specially planted crops just for the chickens. We take great care in making sure our birds have the best and healthiest diet we can give them. No byproducts, no mass produced waste products; nothing other than good, wholesome, nutrient dense feeds and all the pasture crops they will eat.

Production and Welfare

The biggest enemy to the pastured broiler chicken is predators. You name the predator- it likes chicken. We are using two systems to keep them safe from the predators but yet have the freedom to move about and consume as much pasture a possible.

First we use our homemade chicken tractors. A chicken tractor is a portable coop that is moved to a new patch of pasture once or twice each day depending on the size of the birds and the quality of the pasture. The top of the coop is half covered by a white roof for shelter while the other half is open for sunlight and air to move through the coop. The coop has no bottom allowing the birds to enjoy the fresh pasture below their coop. During a growing season each chicken tractor could be moved to new pasture 50 to 60 times to keep the pasture green and lush. Each time we move the tractor, we are giving the chickens a brand new salad bar of bugs and greens to enjoy and rummage through.

In our second method, our day range pens, our broilers are given a pasture paddock surrounded by a special electric net fence to keep predators out that circles around their coop. The entire coop, fence and pen set up is moved to a piece of new lush pasture about every 3 to 5 days. Each night the door to their coop has to be shut to keep the predators out.

In our broiler care we use no antibiotics, no hormones, no growth regulators, nothing of the kind. We make sure all feed and pasture is of high quality, water is always clean and present, and there is always fresh grass or forage for the chickens to get to. Providing these high quality items helps insulate our chickens from many of today’s common disease problems. We always handle our animals calmly and gently without cattle prods or any other devices. All of our processors know that our animals have been and will need to be handled as calmly and gently as possible when the time for processing comes.

Our broilers are processed at a local, inspected, certified organic processor.

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