A few days ago Bruce and I went to a class of sorts at a poultry farm, B & K Natural Farm, in Sutherlin, not far from our house. It was more of a tour, but we saw how a small farm operates in the raising and processing of chickens. Here is an excerpt from the internet:
“Pasture-raised meat chickens offered fresh May thru September, frozen available while they last. We raise our chickens on pasture in open-air pens that are moved daily. Our chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics or other chemicals. (No arsenic, antidepressants or feeding back feathers and waste.) No chemicals are applied to the fields upon which the chickens are raised. The pasture grasses fertilized by our chickens are harvested and sold as animal feed.” http://www.localharvest.org/b-k-natural-farm-M55379
We are interested in finding pasture-raised organic meat from small farms and thought this would be a good opportunity to see if this would be a good place to buy from.
The owners are Beth & Kerry Olsen and Kerry led the tour. He first took us to see the chicks. They are raised in pens for a short time–I believe he called them battery brooders–and they have worked out the best for him in controlling disease.
They are then moved out to the pasture and kept in pens that are moved every three days which keeps the fields fertilized and the chickens stay clean and fed. This is called Chicken Tractor.
The next part is fairly gory, so skip down to the dog if you don’t want to know how chickens are processed.
We were taken in to see the processing plant which is a two room facility. The first room has the cones.
The chickens are put in them head down and their necks are slit and they bleed out. They then go into the scalder head first and hanging by their feet. They are dunked several times for about 15 seconds to facilitate taking off the feathers. To remove the feathers they are put into a steel drum that whirls them around and removes the feathers. It’s the white round container with holes on the left side of the photo. Behind that is the scalder.
The chickens then go on the tables to be eviserated.
After that they are washed and vacuum-sealed and frozen and they are then ready for market.
Vacuum sealer on the right and scale on the left.
Kerry processes 20 chickens an hour, 200 chickens a day, and 5000 chickens a year.
It was an interesting tour, but I sure wouldn’t want to do it for a living. Thank you Kerry for taking the time to show us around your farm.
This is Buddy, Kerry and Beth’s very sweet, friendly dog.
Some Icelandic sheep in an adjoining pasture.
Isaac Brown chickens. They followed along on the tour too.