Our goal is to raise animals in their natural environment, allowing their natural instincts and tendencies to be expressed. There are many terms used in the marketplace today to distinguish one product from another; Organic, Natural, Cage Free, Free Range, Pasture Raised, etc. Let’s look at a few of the definitions before we share how we raise our animals.
The organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 and regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. If livestock are involved, the livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones. The government licenses the term ‘organic’
Naturally Raised – Livestock used for the production of meat and meat products that have been raised entirely without growth promotants, antibiotics (except for ionophores used as coccidiostats for parasite control), and have never been fed animal (mammalian, avian, or aquatic) by-products derived from the slaughter/harvest processes, including meat and fat, animal waste materials (e.g., manure and litter), and aquatic by-products (e.g., fishmeal and fish oil). All products labeled with a naturally raised marketing claim must incorporate information explicitly stating that animals have been raised in a manner that meets the following conditions: 1) no growth promotants were administered to the animals; 2) no antibiotics (other than ionophores used to prevent parasitism) were administered to the animal; and 3) no animal by-products were fed to the animals.
Pasture-raised animals roam freely in their natural environment where they’re able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants that their bodies are adapted to digest. In addition to dramatically improving the welfare of farm animals, pasturing also helps reduce environmental damage, and yields meat, eggs, and dairy products that are tastier and more nutritious than foods produced on factory farms.
“Free range” does have an official definition: “Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.”
Now that we have the generally accepted definitions down, let us share how we raise our animals. Our animals are raised on pasture within protected areas. They are not free to range anywhere they want or they may end up in the mouth of a fox or coyote. Our pigs have 4 paddocks that we rotate them through. They can root, forage, wallow and run. They forage the grasses, receive a nonGMO, nonSoy, nonCorn feed and produce from the garden. These are happy pigs.
Our laying hens are moved every 3-4 days to new pasture. They roam, scratch, run and peck as they please. We do surround them with electric fence to prevent predators from attacking. Fox, dogs, coyotes, possums and raccoons are their worst enemies. Our fence gives them ample room to roam although chickens tend to stay relatively close to shelter in case of aerial predators.
Our meat birds are raised in a brooder tractor. On day 3 the doors are opened for them to go out and explore. Once feathered, they move to the pasture inside chicken tractors. We move these tractors daily so they are on fresh grass, with fresh water and ample shade. These birds do not love the heat of the day so they must have ample shelter. Our chicken is processed in a USDA facility, they are not dipped in chlorine water and they are cooled in a cold air cooler after processing. The killing technique maintains the humane standard we adhere to for our animals.
Our animals get healthful feed that does not contain GMO’s. soy or corn. We supplement the pigs with Diatomaceous Earth and garlic to reduce parasites. The chickens get vinegar in their water 2-3 times a week and garlic water when needed to boost their immune systems. We prefer to use natural methods to maintain the good health of the animal.
“For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” – Genesis 26:22