Are "Pasture Raised" Chickens fed by Us?
A Great Question came in from a Customer Today asking advice on whether or not she should supplement feed for her Pasture Raised - Cage Free Chickens.
Cage Free -vs- Free Range -vs- Organic -vs-Pasture Raised
Poultry do not live in cages.
These birds can still be crammed 20,000-40,000 to a barn, effectively unable to move, without any access to the outdoors.
Poultry have access to as little as 2 square feet of outdoor area per bird, but this doesn’t mean that the birds will ever see the outdoors.
Hens designated Free Range may still be crammed into a barn, with even just one small access point to the outside.
Free Range chicken requirements do not specify government oversight to the quality or amount of time hens have access to the outdoors.
Poultry eats solely organic feed.
Poultry is not given antibiotics or hormones.
Organic chickens must live in cage-free environments and have access to an outdoor area.
Pasture Raised definition:
Poultry is raised in a way that’s consistent with how chickens would naturally live: in pasture, with the ability to freely roam, scratch, and peck, improving the soil at the same time.
Certified Humane Label:
When pasture-raised poultry and eggs are paired with a "Certified Humane" label, this indicates that hens are given 108 square feet of outdoor space per bird, as well as access to a barn or structure for shade and cover.
These Pasture-raised chickens eat a diet made up of provided feed and foraged grubs and insects, which is the natural diet of healthy birds.
BACK in the DAY -- Chickens never depended on Humans to supply their food. The Good Lord made animals self sufficient - they are born with the skills to find their own food.
As chickens became more domesticated they became a required livestock for any homesteading family. They free ranged all over the farmers property and beyond, but knew to come home at dusk to perch high in the barn or trees.
In Modern DAY -- our properties are smaller and the neighbors prefer that you keep your flock on your own own property, so lots of domestic downsizing has occurred resulting in the Family Chickens be kept in a Chicken Pen. The modern Family then feeds them store bought crumble to supplement the nutrition loss from lack of free range eating.
The Commercial Production Plants of over-populated caged White Layer Hens --
lets just state for the sake of this topic that they are fed commercial made crumbles and mash as well.
" This has not been good for the Chicken -
and twice as bad for those of us who consume those eggs.
Restricting Chickens from the Outdoors and Feeding them
Commercial "feeds" does Not produce a Healthy Chicken
or Healthy Edible Eggs. "
Lets go back to how the Chickens were originally designed - a Chicken was MADE to Forage ! They know what they want to eat - they know what mineral or protein their body craves, they scout out any and everything they desire.
Because we want them to stick around and give us those Delicious Healthy Eggs -
Our part is to prepare our Homesteads to have the Resources and Places available to the Chickens to Scratch and Forage in. For Example . .Build a Compost Pile !
A Compost Pile is a Big heap of Compostable / Degradable / Lawn and Garden Wastes. Keep it Piled High - and in the Sun, and watered regularly -- and you will attract all the buggies and wormies the girls crave! They will "Turn" the pile every day - you just have to re-heap it and let them help you make the Best Dirt.
Kitchen Scraps go in there too - Banana peels- Apples - Celery Trimmings, Peppers, crumbled egg shells - you name it --- they will eat it ! Leaves you have raked, grass clippings, If the chickens don't devour it, it will attract the buggies that will, and there is their Food. If you keep your pile refreshed - they will have a endless supply of rotting veggies to eat, and all the creepy crawlies that come with it.
Did you know that Chickens are Meat Eaters too? Small Frogs, Lizards, Toads, Spiders, Ticks, and Flies (they especially love eating them from fly strips)
Our Chickens Really LOVE to help me in the Garden - every time I dig a row, they are right next to me Just In Case a wayward worm rears his squiggly body, and they take care of it immediately, before i even see it -- then they step back and look up at me as if to say "Go ahead mommy, I got you" They are hilarious.
So how do we Raise our Chickens?
At Sunshine Farms of Paisley, Fl , we are raising them the way our ancestors did way back in the 1800's. ( You knew that was coming - LOL. Of Course! )
The Barn door is Open at daybreak Before they jump down to Crow.
They have access to multiple fields, woods, gardens, compost, All Day
They return to the Barn to lay their eggs.
They get broody and set on eggs. They raise their own chicks and teach them.
They Eat Grass, Bugs, Worms, Caterpillars, Lizards, Fish, Frogs, Spiders.
They eat Greens and Produce from ours and other Farms (fresh organics)
They eat leftovers from our table, from our garden, from our refrigerator.
They eat Silage that we ferment from our own Organic Garden Harvests.
We Close the Barn door at Dark (they already tucked themselves in)
They are Healthy - Happy - Friendly - and super Smart. Their Eggs are Beautiful, their
Shells are healthy and strong, their yolks are golden and delicious. We dont wash their shells because we dont want you to miss the freshness of a Real Egg.
Sunshine Farms of Paisley Fl, LLC - Family Owned + Operated Farm in Central Florida
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