The Life of a Chicken Pt. 1
It all starts at the hatchery. We try to source our chicks as local as possible. We buy non-medicated Cornish Crosses from either Murray McMurray of Webster City, Iowa or Hoovers of Rudd, Iowa. Then they begin their lives at our farm in the brooder where they spend three weeks cozied up in a warm deep bedded environment. Then once they are fully feathered and ready for the elements they head out to pasture.
The Life of a Chicken Pt. 2
Once out on pasture the chickens spent the next four weeks in floor-less mobile shelters called "chicken tractors". The daily movement of these shelters allows the birds an ample supply of fresh forage and bugs. This frequent movement also serves to keep the birds in a natural hygienic environment where medications are not necessary. Three quarters of their shelter is roofed along with an enclosed back and partially enclosed sides. This affords the birds adequate protection in inclement weather. Automatic waterers provide a constant source of clean water. Their feed supplement consists of organically grown grains and derives it protein from non-soy sources.
The Life of a Chicken Pt. 3
At the end of week seven the birds are dispatched by severing their carotid artery. We feel this is the most humane way to end the bird's lives. The birds simply lose consciousness quickly from the drop in blood pressure, and feel very little pain. They are then scalded, plucked, and eviscerated (internal organs removed). Following the evisceration table they are put into the first of two chill tanks. Here in cold water their temperature is dropped for about a half an hour. The constant water flow in this first tank also helps to cleanse the birds from any residual blood, even though there is very little due to the way they are dispatched. When a half an hour is up they take the last plunge into an ice bath where they are chilled to near freezing temperature. This quick chill down closes the pores on the birds skin and prevents water uptake, a common problem with conventionally processed birds. Then they are either ready to be put into the freezer or picked-up by you!