Poultry

Organic Free Range Chicken

 

Humanely Raised on Pasture

Completely Free Range Chicken

No Cages, No Pens, No Chicken ‘Tractors’!

Certified Organic Feed (always Non-GMO) with Poultry Minerals

No Hormones, No Antibiotics, No Medications, No Pesticides, No Herbicides!

High in Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, other nutrients and minerals

 

Commercial Meat Chickens

“Maybe we should stop asking why real food is so expensive and start asking why conventional food is so cheap.” “People don’t care what they eat as long as it’s cheap.” When it comes to meat, I know of no better example of this than chicken. For the first time since they’ve kept a record of it, people are eating more chicken than beef, pork, or turkey and the main reason is because it has become so inexpensive.[1]

In the US, all commercially grown chicken, including organic, free range, cage free, humanely raised, pasture raised, locally grown, etc. is from Cornish cross hybrid chickens. The Cornish cross chicken (aka. broilers, fryers, Jumbo Cornish Rocks, Cornish X) is so hybridized that they'll be full grown in 6 weeks and can't be allowed to live much past that because they'll die of liver and heart failure. These chickens, raised from a proprietary breeding process, have unnaturally large breasts, insanely quick growth, and a very high feed to weight conversion.

Because they have been bred to push the limits of growth and size, they have high mortality and morbidity rates, compromised immune systems, skeletal problems (lameness and broken bones), respiratory problems, and circulatory problems (hypertension and heart disease). When they are young, they have to be feed in 12 hour shifts because if they have access to feed 24/7 they will literally eat themselves to death. Modern meat chickens can barely walk for the last few weeks of their life because they get so big their legs can’t support their own weight. These obese birds spend virtually all their time sitting in their litter (manure) which eats away their feathers and causes sores on their underside. When they get this big, they get hot and overheated causing them to pant continuously. The last week before slaughter is also when most hybrid chickens start to die of poor health. These birds hardly resemble chickens. As one farmer put it, “We have successfully bred most of the chicken out of the chicken.”

Another common problem with the Cornish cross hybrid chicken is commonly called Green Muscle Disease (Deep Pectoral Myopathy). This is when the breast muscles grow so large that the chicken’s heart and lungs can’t supply oxygen to it all resulting in dead tissue (necrosis) in the live birds.[3] This doesn’t show up until the birds are processed and the slimy green dead muscle is revealed.

Even locally raised pastured chicken is almost always this same hybrid chicken breed raised in cages. The difference is that pasture raised chickens are outside, usually in small chicken cages (called ‘tractors’) instead of inside large barns. The chicken tractors are usually moved once a day to a new spot on the pasture which is supposed to allow the birds to forage on fresh ground. But, the Cornish cross hybrid won’t forage much because the ability to forage has been bred out and their incredibly fast growth inhibits their mobility. Since they are out of a barn and on green grass this is a step in the right direction but they are still the same unhealthy hybrid chicken that can’t walk. Modern hybrid meat chickens are unhealthy because of their genetics. Meat from obese, immunocompromised birds that were taken to slaughter just before they were to die of heart and liver failure cannot be good for you!

To get a better idea of what these chickens are like, I encourage you to watch this video. The video is not exaggerated or embellished. Considering the nature of these birds, the farmer in the video is doing a pretty good job with them and genuinely seems to care about the welfare of his birds. In fact, these industrial chicken farms are usually much worse than the one in this video:  http://www.wired.com/2014/12/cwif-craigwatts-perdue/ [3]

Also, just because you buy only organic ‘humanely raised’ chicken, doesn’t mean the birds are raised on pasture or get sunlight or anything else but the inside of an enclosed barn. The organic regulations say that organic raised birds must have access to the outdoors but for most organic producers “outdoor access” means a very small space out a small door that’s open a few minutes a day if it even exists at all.[4] The conditions and birds from organic factory farms don’t look any different from the video above. Most organic chickens that are sold in stores never see the light of day with hundreds of thousands of Cornish cross chickens in very small spaces. Recently, in California, a new regulation was passed that requires egg producers to provide 116 square inches of space for each hen, just enough where they can stretch their wings.[5] That’s a space smaller than the size of a legal sheet of paper and is less than one square foot and producers can’t meet this requirement! Meat birds are usually provided even less space, about 96 sq in [6], which is about the size of a standard sheet of notebook paper.[7] 

Our Chickens

We refuse to raise Cornish cross franken-chickens that can't even walk!  Instead, we raise chickens that can forage, run, jump, play, and that act like chickens! And, they look like chickens too (the picture above is of our meat chickens). Our chickens dig in the dirt, forage for bugs and seeds, peck at the grass, eat plants, etc. They are lively, healthy chickens. Their forage is supplemented with locally grown Certified Organic Feed which has poultry minerals added.  Certified organic always means it's also non-GMO.

Our chickens take more than twice as long to grow to full size, have more normal size breast meat, and make much healthier and tastier chicken. Healthy animals make healthy meat! They’ll have significantly higher levels of vitamins (particularly D & E), minerals, and a much better Omega 6:3 ratio.

Our chickens have an average dressed weight around 4 to 6 lbs. You can get them as whole chickens, cut into quarters, or cut into eight pieces. They are vacuum sealed in a bag, one bird per bag, and will be frozen when you pick them up. Contact us for current availability and an up to date price sheet.

When considering the cost of chicken, keep in mind that store bought chicken is routinely pumped with a saline solution during processing. Around 15% of the weight you pay for with store bought chicken is added water.

Ordering

We usually have chicken in stock and ready to go.  Just tell us what you’d like and when you’d like to pick it up at our farm in Dundee and we’ll have it ready for you when you get here.  Our general hours are Monday through Saturday 8 am to 8 pm.  Please contact us before you come since we’re not always here.

For more information please read our FAQ!

BP Farms, Because you are what you eat eats!!

 

[1] Hidden Cost of Cheap Chicken

[2] Green Muscle Disease

[3] For a couple of follow up stories to this video: Chicken Industry Acts Like Ostriches; Abusing Chickens We Eat

[4] Industrial Poultry Operations Slide Organic Regulations

[5] California's New Poultry Rules

[6] Hidden Cost of Cheap Chicken

[7] For more information on commercial meat chickens: http://truthaboutchicken.org/