For those of us involved with the chickens here at Brookford Farm, 2017 is a year for reflection and learning. THIS year we have decided to raise our laying hens in the 100’x35’ hoop barns that house the heifers and dry cows during the winter and we will not raise any broilers.
Why will we raise our chickens in the hoop barns?
In our time raising chickens on pasture we have had some really great eggs and meat, but also a lot of frustration and even heartbreak. We have seen excellent pastures filled with legumes and high quality grasses develop dead patches due to the chickens scratching. Field productivity is further reduced from being driven over repeatedly by the vehicles we must use to feed, collect the eggs and move the coops. We have been in the middle of the field with the chickens sympathizing with them as they huddle in whatever shade they can find inside and under the coop. We have watched hawks swoop down and kill chickens right in front of us. During attempts to scare the hawks away we watched them fly across the field to the other coop. Additionally it seems that we are experiencing a coyote population explosion. In the mornings when we do our rounds we are seeing increased evidence to the presence of these nocturnal predators.
To ensure the safety of our birds from predation issues we have enlisted the help of two Maramma guardian dogs, Doc and Wyatt. They instinctively guard livestock but like all puppies need some training. The most realistic way to train them is to keep their first year with the chickens close to the farmyard. This way they will have less pressure from the predators and it will be easier for those of us raising them to give the puppies guidance.
100% Grass-fed Beef
Since our cows live in healthy conditions and eat a diet appropriate for ruminants, their own health benefits, as does our own. According to eatwild.com, “Meat from grassfed animals has about half the fat as meat from grain-fed animals and significantly fewer calories.” Meat from grass-fed animals is also dramatically higher in CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, four times higher in vitamins E, A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The health benefits of eating pastured pork are dramatic. Pastured meats are much higher (as much as hundreds of times higher) in vitamin E and “good fats” like omega-3s and CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, than conventional pork. There’s an unbelievable taste difference between our pork and conventional pork. Our pork is processed naturally and our bacon is nitrate-free.
At Brookford Farm we deeply respect the animals we are entrusted to care for. All our animals are humanely slaughtered. Our beef and pork are slaughtered, processed, and packaged at a USDA inspected facility. Our poultry is raised and processed by our friends at Vernon Family Farm.