Updated: Feb 28
Land & Feast is proud to share how our pasture-raised chickens are cared for on our organic farm. From nursery to sunshine fields, journey with us into the life of a chicken.
There is an abundance of options when it comes to buying chicken for your dinner table. Many people might consider any supermarket or grocery store chicken first. But how often are we aware of where the chicken comes from? Some grocery store chicken and egg labels can be misleading, motivating the customer to confidently buy food with happy and hopeful labels that are actually hiding unethical practices.
A well-known animal protection organization called Mercy For Animals often conducts investigations into animal welfare, including the treatment of “broilers,” chickens that are raised for meat. Their findings on how chicken coops are set up and treated for large grocery companies like Costco was shocking. These investigations expose the treatment of broilers and show that they do not meet many standards of the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), a widely-used set of standards for chicken welfare. The good news is that many stores are working on their animal welfare standards, and stores like Costco, Sprouts, and Whole Foods have already made significant changes.
While it is readily available and convenient, not all grocery store meat and poultry are treated equally. When looking for other options that can fuel your dinners, local and organic farming is a more connected and holistic option where you can feel more confident that you know how the chickens were treated. Land & Feast is a certified organic farm caring for pasture-raised chickens. There are a few things that set our chickens apart. Follow our journey of raising chickens and how we strive for the best possible care and protection for them.
While our Land & Feast chickens are still baby chicks on the farm, they stay in an eight-by-eight-foot nursery with heated lamps. Heat lamps are necessary for chicks for about six to eight weeks, depending on when their feathers develop fully to keep them warm. A noticeable sign that chicks will show that they are too hot is to stand far apart from each other. Our chicks are happy in the nursery and love to be close to one another. With the chickens we have right now, this nursery is the perfect size, but this space will soon expand
along with our plans to raise more.
Once they have developed their feathers and are big enough to spend extended time outside, our chickens can enjoy the sunshine and pastured grass to feed on. At this stage, our chickens stay in a mobile ten-by-twelve-foot “tractor,” which is essentially a mobile coop, all day with constant access to water and food. The tractor has a chicken wire roof to keep out predators like hawks, and half the coop has an aluminum covering to allow the chickens to choose if they want to chill in the shade or bask in the sun. Our farmers have also placed an electric fence around the tractor as an extra barrier to protect from predators.
Since it is mobile, this setup also moves around to different places on the farm, so the chickens have consistent access to healthy grass and insects to eat. This process not only exposes the chickens to fresh grass, it also spreads their droppings. This way, the droppings can enrich the soil, acting as a natural fertilizer for our fields. Using poultry manure is a great option because it contains high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all elements that are essential in both natural and synthetic fertilizers. Because Land & Feast is focused on a regenerative agriculture approach, enriching our no-till soil with organic matter helps protect it from erosion and prepare it for new plants. This is particularly important for Land & Feast’s mission to cultivate food for the good of the earth and people.
Our chickens are pasture raised, meaning there are certain criteria to meet for access to fresh air and outdoor space. For their own protection, the chickens do not roam the entire farm without being in the tractor. We have put in extensive research and effort to ensure our chicks are raised safely and grow into happy and healthy chickens, free from stress, and free to be chickens.
When looking for a high quality, healthy option for the dinner table, look no further than San Diego-based organic farming. Land & Feast has an option to order online with local pick-up options. Ordering our chicken online is easy and can be found by following this link.