Here’s the latest edition of Pasture Posts – the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer! Enjoy!
What’s keeping us busy
Our first flock of 2021 reached maturity this past week. Harvesting livestock is something we take very seriously as it is the one bad day that our animals have. We work extremely hard to minimize stress for all our livestock throughout their life which is something that is low in priority for the industry which we’ll talk about more below.
Our belief is that by us providing them with a respectful, species-appropriate life, that they will then in death provide us and our customers with a nutrient-dense, nourishing source of food that gives us life.
For this flock we used a small USDA processor for some of the birds which will allow us to market the birds in different ways – mainly to stores for resale. (The birds that we process on-farm can only be sold directly to the consumer or to restaurants, hotels, or other institutions that will further prepare the poultry under government inspection of some sort.)
So here’s some pictures of us loading chickens one morning. It truly was very low-stress for the chickens and went well overall.
We got some rain!
We received over an inch of much-needed rain yesterday which should re-ignite some grass growth in our paddocks that have just been grazed. These resting paddocks had put any re-growth on hold until soil moisture increased. It will be interesting to see the grass utilize the soaking rain.
Our layer chickens don’t care as much for the rain as we do as it sends most of them inside the house. They’re quick to venture back out in between downpours though.
We’re still running our limited-time sale on eggs to try to increase our sales while we wait on things to fall into place to allow us to retire an older flock (which could happen in the next week).
For now we have some extra eggs that we would like you to help us move.
Stock up today!
Next Tour Date
The first tour of the year went great! We had a great turn out and the weather was nice. We had almost 30 people show up and had some very beneficial discussions! If you missed out on this one, don’t worry! We are offering another tour in May. See below for more information.
If you would like to see some of these methods in practice that we mentioned above, we are providing a great opportunity to do so on Saturday, May 8th! We will have a tractor-pulled hay ride ready that will transport you around the farm to show you first hand the benefits of pasture-raised livestock that are constantly moving.
- The date/time is May 8th at 10:00am.
- We look forward to these tours as it lets us talk with customers at more length than is usually possible. It also lets you see in person where and how your food is raised.
- We plan to have tour offerings about once per month.
- Hit the button for more details on the May 8th tour.
What makes us different
With this segment we plan to highlight one aspect of our farm that makes us different from other farms.
Our Chicken’s low-stress lifestyle
The benefits of raising poultry on pasture are very numerous, but one of the stark advantages is the lower level of stress that pastured birds have compared to their industrial counterparts.
Every species has an environment that it is most comfortable in and that it was historically most adapted to. We try to mimic this environment as closely as possible so that we “honor the pigness of the pig” to borrow a phrase from Joel Salatin.
For chickens, this means:
- Living on pasture not on “litter”
- Industrial confinement systems start with pine shavings as bedding but with such vast numbers of animals in these large confinement houses, this litter becomes loaded with fecal matter quickly. This bedding is often either too wet or very dry. Either one is a problem that the industry will never be able to solve. Daily moves on pasture is the only true solution to this.
- Living in smaller flocks not vast, crowded confinement houses
- Once on pasture, our chickens are in a group of about 70 others which is a great size flock where there are enough members to keep warm on cool nights and not overly competitive for feed and water.
- Low Electricity Inputs
- The system we use requires far less energy to keep our birds alive compared to the industry which depends on fans to keep air moving through the confinement house, not to mention water pumps, feed motors, and other equipment. The absence of this mechanization allows our birds to live in peace and quiet without the constant din of fans and feeders. It’s also better for the environment when we are not so dependent on the power grid.
- On most days, we are able to move and service all our chicken shelters without ever starting a tractor or running an electric motor. Yes, it’s more labor intensive, but is having more people on farms really such a bad thing?
These are just a few of the ways that we allow chickens to be chickens without allowing “faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper” to be the driving mantra of our chicken enterprise. Thank you for seeing the difference and demanding pasture raised.
Help us free up some freezer space! ????
In the last month or so we have moved A LOT of chicken, but we still have some left. We’ve put Boneless Skinless Breast (including the bundle) back on sale as well!
These are some of the best prices EVER on our truly pasture-raised, non-GMO chicken products. As you can see below, many products are 25% off or more while our bundles are as much as 15% off the already-discounted bundle price. Head over to the website and stock up!See All On-sale Products