Local Farmer Explains the Benefits of Pasture Raised Animals
A Five Part Series
Part 1: Animal Welfare
If you’ve been following our blog, you know that our reasons for starting Pasturebird go way beyond the usual entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, as happy as we are with our success, that was one of the last things on our mind when we started this company.
While we touch on the many benefits of raising animals on pasture in each of our blog posts, we thought it would be a good idea to explore those reasons in more detail, so that our customers not only can appreciate the products that we offer, but also the reasons that we offer them. There are a few core principles that inspire the way we do business, and we wanted to share those with our readers and consumers so that they can really get a deeper understanding of our Pasturebird philosophy. The 5 core principles that are at the focus of everything we do are:
- Animal welfare
- Environment/regenerative agriculture
- Nutrient density/health
In this 5 part series of posts, we’ll dig a little deeper into the “why’s” behind Pasturebird - the reasons that we do what we do, and offer some education into some of the core principles and benefits behind raising animals on pasture. We hope that in some small way, exploring these topics will offer an education into the many environmental, nutritional, and animal-welfare centered ways that raising and consuming pasture raised meat is better for the earth, the animals, and the consumer.
At Pasturebird, Our Animals Come First
In our first post, we’ll talk about animal welfare. At Pasturebird, we believe that nature is our partner, not our resource, and that applies to our birds as well. We honor our animals by giving them the absolute best life possible during their lifetime. While over 98% of U.S. poultry lives on factory farms, we house our chickens in an open air moveable coop where they are given ample access to fresh air and sunshine while being protected from predators and inclement weather.
What does this mean for the chickens? Well, for starters, they’re allowed to live the way chickens were meant to live. Pecking, scratching, and supplementing their diet by foraging for worms, insects, grasses, nuts, seeds, and whatever other naturally occurring goodness they find on pasture. For the good of both the soil and our chickens, they are moved to a different pasture every day so that they constantly have access to new land to forage on, and the soil is allowed to rejuvenate and the plants to regenerate before that pasture area is used again.
We’re Not Your Average Poultry Farm
The practices we use at Pasturebird are quite a big departure from the philosophy of factory farming, which believes that chickens are there to create a profit for the company, and that’s it. In the majority of factory farms, animals are exposed to horrific cruelties while being bred solely for the purposes of being butchered for their meat. Even farms who advertise themselves as breeding “organic” or “free range” chickens aren’t necessarily looking out for the welfare of their birds. In fact, while free range birds are required to have “access” to the “outdoors”, those terms are not clearly defined, and legally, a small door in the corner of a barn leading out to an outdoor pad of fenced in concrete can be enough to label those chickens “free range.” Truly pasture raised chickens, on the other hand, are outside more than they are inside, and are able to graze on real pasture - not manufactured turf or concrete. While “cage free” chickens are given as little as 1 square foot of roaming space, and “free range” chickens as little as two square feet, to be labeled pasture raised, chickens must have at least 108 square feet of pastureland to roam and graze.
By allowing our chickens access to fresh air, nutritious food, and exercise, not only do we provide them a better life, but the meat from a pasture raised chicken is proven to contain more nutrients and less fat than factory farmed chicken. We’ll spare you more gruesome details about factory farmed chicken, but a quick Google search will provide you with a vast amount of literature, studies, and investigative reports into the horrors that go on in an industrial poultry farm. A chicken’s natural life span is several years, but factory farmed chickens live an average of 42 days.That’s because their entire life’s purpose is to be raised for food, with no regard to the welfare or quality of life of the animal.
While we do raise our birds for eventual consumption, we also strive to make their lives as comfortable and whole as possible. The moveable open air coop that we use is tall enough for a grown human to stand in and offers our chickens plenty of space to move around, with constant access to fresh air and fresh pasture. We do this because it’s better for the chickens - they are happy, healthy, and able to live the way chickens are meant to live; foraging on pasture for natural food sources, pecking, scratching, and getting as much exercise as they want. The resulting benefit to us and our consumers is that the meat from a pasture raised chicken is proven to be more nutritious, and while we can’t scientifically prove this fact, we know from our personal experience and the feedback from our customers that the taste of pasture raised chicken is so much better than conventionally raised chicken.
If you’re interested in learning more about why and how Pasturebird puts animal welfare first, be sure to follow along with our website and stalk us on social media (@Pasturebird), where we offer a completely transparent look into how we do business, and post photos and videos of the farm on an almost daily basis. We also hold farm tours and events where our consumers and the community can visit the farm and experience the Pasturebird difference firsthand.