We have the same philosophy for all of our animals at Smith Meadows: fresh air, sunshine, and pasture, pasture, and more pasture. Does true free ranging really make that much of a difference? In a word, a resounding YES! Access to nutritious clover, fresh grasses, seeds and bugs, creates an obvious distinction in the taste and texture of the meat, and also makes a huge difference to the environment, and the sustainability of our farm.
Chickens should be allowed to behave like chickens. At our farm, as soon as they are able, they are outside for their entire lives. We raise our meat birds only during the warm season, when forage is abundant and verdant, and the conditions are just right for long, warm days and cool, comfortable nights. They are free to hunt, peck, exercise and preen. In short, they are allowed to express themselves.
(see our Blog and Video about our chickens HERE)
At Smith Meadows, raising a chicken isn’t just about raising a chicken. As with everything we do on the farm, the emphasis is all about soil fertility. The birds are rotated daily onto fresh grass, giving the soil time to utilize the valuable manure that the birds are spreading, as well as allowing the pasture plenty of time to recover and grow. When the chickens are ready to be processed, we follow behind them with our cattle and sheep, grazing the exact same pasture. It’s a circle of fertility, renewal, and sustainability.
We raise white chickens. The reasons for this are simple: they are easier to see out on pasture (we are constantly checking on our birds!), and since we do all of our own processing, the white feathered birds are unquestionably easier to pluck. After a long season of raising birds on pasture, these little details can make a big difference!
Our pastured chickens are available from late May until winter. Does fresh pasture really make a difference? Let us know what you think.