Ankeny Hill Farm is now offering local pasture raised chicken supplemented with organic feed. If you are interested in pasture raised, organically fed chicken near Salem, Oregon, you can pre-order yours now by going to the link below. Our first batch of meat birds are scheduled to be processed May 30th.
How Do You Raise Your Chickens?
We will be starting with just 50 chickens. Since we get them as very young chicks, they will be kept in brooders with heating devices to keep them warm. Young chicks must be kept in brooders, or at least have access to heat until they are fully feathered at about 4 weeks old. This means they cannot be free ranged until then (meat birds generally are not free ranged anyway as I’ll explain below). Once they are feathered out (meaning they have all or mostly adult feathers) we will put them in chicken tractors that will be moved around the field daily so they have constant access to sunlight, grass, bugs, etc… We will make sure to spread them out into several chicken tractors to avoid over crowding as they grow.
You may be wondering why we don’t free range our broiler chickens like we do our egg laying hens. Broiler chickens grow so fast and big that it can be hard for them to get around and get away from predators as they get closer to the 6-8 week mark when they will be butchered. Keeping them in chicken tractors ensures that they still have plenty of access to pasture and sunshine, but are still kept safe from predators.
We will be sending our broiler chickens to be processed when they are 8 weeks old.
Do You Use Added Hormones?
Our chickens are all raised with no added hormones. In fact no artificial or added hormones are used in the production of any poultry in the United States. Regulations of the Food & Drug Administration prohibit the use of such hormones. No such hormones are used. So any brand of chicken can be labeled “Raised without hormones” or something similar.
Do You Use Antibiotics?
No, we do not use antibiotics in our laying hens, and we will not use them in our broiler/meat chickens. If there is ever a need to use antibiotics to save a sick chicken, that chicken will not be used for customer consumption.
Will Your Chicken be Certified Organic?
Since we are a small farm, it would be cost prohibitive to go through the process of having our chicken certified organic. This means that we cannot advertise our chicken as “Organic”, But we will do our best to make sure they are receiving organically grown feed and pasture. We will not spray the pasture that they feed on with chemicals and will do our best to make sure pasture management is done as naturally as possible.