As more people have started being more concerned of their local food movements, i have wondered do people understand what a label or term actually mean.
Here at Broadfield Farm we do not use any special terms that you will see in the supermarket. I refer to my poultry products as pasture raised. The pasture raised is becoming a growing movement especially among smaller farmers. In essence it is managing your poultry enterprises on pasture while moving them to clean ground daily or quite often and allowing them to naturally fertilise where they have been. This can be done in many different ways for example some farmers run their laying hens behind their cow herd. The hens will spread out the dung and consume harmful parasites.
Now as i said the supermarket shelves have eggs and chicken telling you how they were raised.
There are generally 3 labels or terms you see.
We start with the chicken that says nothing but chicken. This is usually a cheap chicken and is generally raised in confinement and is grown for profit over animal quality of life, likewise for eggs. When i say low quality of life, i mean in comparison to my own system. These birds meet all animal welfare requirments, which probably says more about a society that is happy to give a pass to animal confinement systems.
Next in the line is free range, this is the most overly confused term with consumers. Essentially the animals have a much better way of life over the first, but the regulation only needs the birds to have a certain amount of outdoor access. Note the word ACCESS. Their house needs to have a certain number of exits, but nothing says the birds have to leave the house. My second issue with free range is the fact the birds are housed in a stationary house in which there is several groups run in over the year. The outdoor area is the same ground that all birds have access to, so any of the birds that do venture into the great outdoors, they are consuming ground that has had batches of birds on before. This ground is overly fertilised by the birds and there is a lack of life present. Finally free range feed conventional poultry feed. With the knowledge we have about the effects of glyphosate has on our systems, 'you are what you eat eats'. And given that poultry eats mainly grain diet and the grain industry is a mega user of glyphosate, we should wonder about the link across into our own bodies.
Finally i move to the organic system. As the name suggest they receive organic feed, but after that it is quite similar to the free range systems.
In our pasture raised system we feed the same feed that organic farms feed (we are not organic registered). But we move our birds around our pasture. Our hens live in an egg mobile and move to fresh pasture every 2 days. Our chickens live in mobile chicken tractors and move very 2 days to fresh pasture. All our poultry have no option but to go out as they live outside. Once they get used to the moves they love it, They go mad for the fresh pasture and is a great thing to see.
Our aim is to bring you awareness of how we produce your food. Most labels you see in shops are working with huge budgets and professionals trying to sell you something. Our main aim is to be certified by our customers and bring you knowledge and understanding into the process that puts food on your table.