White Paper Welcome/Introduction

Do you ever get tired of hearing that the food you’re eating is bad for you?

You listen to one expert say “X” and then another expert says no, “X” is bad, what you need is “Y.”  Then the next expert says no, No, NO … “X and Y” are bad what you really need is “A.” 

I agree with you, it’s tiresome and confusing.  How do you know who to believe?  And why should you believe anyone?  It’s all so confusing, and who has the time to do all the research?   

I am not a researcher, nor dietician, but I have studied chicken and what has (likely) been done to your grocery store chicken.  I hope to begin sharing a little taste of that with you in this paper by comparing chicken from a grocery store vs. my chicken.

Hi, I’m Farmer Bob.  I raise Perfect Pastured Poultry.

Alright, here we go.  I am only going to discuss two topics: location and feed.

Let’s start with location (inside vs. pastured):

Grocery store chickens are raised inside huge dark buildings, which only have  artificial lighting (no sunlight), air pumped in to regulate the air temperature without regard for the air quality, with tens of thousands of birds packed together (as many as 30,000 in a single “cage free” building).  And the chickens live on top of their own excrement, and the excrement of the groups of birds that lived in that barn before them, too. 

My Perfect Pastured Poultry is raised outside, on fresh pasture, in the glorious sun and fresh air.  Sounds better already doesn’t it?  Let me explain it a bit more though.

Why is grocery store chicken raised in yucky conditions like that?  I don’t know  for certain what the real reason is, because those corporate giants are tight-lipped about what they do.  But here’s my educated insight as to why:

  • Inside a building: This is the easiest and most efficient way to control the environment for maximum production. But, as I’ll describe, this environment is not healthy for the chickens.  I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system.  
  • Constant artificial lighting: If it’s always light, without the timing of day and night only using constant artificial lighting, then these chickens:
    • Have no circadian rhythm.
    • They don’t really sleep, they just eat and eat and eat.
    • They never get to rest, allowing their bodies a break from constantly eating and just sitting.
    • These chickens are treated like biological meat machines, not Created animals.
    • To me this forced lack of circadian rhythm is one of the most cruel practices inflicted upon these little creatures. Just think of what it would do to your system to be awake for 6-7 weeks with no break.  You’d be outside of your mind, and your bodily functions wouldn’t work very well either.  These other, forthcoming, practices are in-humane, but I think this practice is just flat out cruel.
    • This cruelty is also not healthy for the chickens. I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system. 
  • Temperature Control: Chickens put off a lot of heat. An adult chicken’s normal internal temperature is 105-107(f).  They are warm animals.  I think the barns are kept warm for at least two reasons:
    • So the chickens don’t waste any energy (calories) keeping warm. All their energy goes into growing and becoming the, supposed, food that they are for us. 
    • So they don’t grow all their feathers. Feathers are a total pain-in-the-backside to deal with in the harvesting process … a total pain.  Maintaining this temperature is part of the reason so many chickens are packed into a single building too. They heat it themselves.
    • But this environment is also not healthy for the chickens. I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system. 
  • Air Quality: Chicken poo, when left in a warm area, puts off an incredible amount of ammonia. Like you-can’t-breathe amounts of ammonia.  The chickens don’t seem to mind too much.  However, all that ammonia does cause them to get sick.  Chickens raised inside like this have a startlingly high death rate.  And this environment is also not healthy for the chickens.  I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system. 
  • Excrement: Cleaning the excrement out of these buildings isn’t done for many reasons, but I’ll give you a few answers that I think are correct:
    • All that poo would have to be dealt with in some form or fashion, composted, spread like manure (spreader), put into lagoon, etc. That is expensive and has a whole host of regulations that would have to be followed, including regulations for the folks doing the cleaning.  None of those regulations are valid if the poo is left in place.
      • Regulations would be from the EPA, USDA, Local Regulating “Body” like county and township. Dealing with manure for a C.A.F.O. operation is a huge task.
        • (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)
      • The actual act of cleaning is expensive and time consuming.
      • The excrement breaking down inside the building adds its own heat, thus lowering that potential cost.
      • But this environment is also not healthy for the chickens. I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system.   

I raise my chickens on pasture, outside.  Why?  Because I want my chickens to be happy and healthy.  I don’t treat them like biological meat machines. My Perfect Pastured Poultry have plenty of:

  • Sunshine and darkness so they indeed have a natural circadian rhythm.
  • They are fully feathered because it gets cool at night.
  • I move the pens two times every day, so they’re always on fresh pasture with a fresh area of vegetation, bugs, and worms to eat. And an area that’s clean and poo-free so they’re clean.
  • Fresh air so they don’t get sick.
  • I use their poo as fertilizer for the pasture. Because they’re moved two times per day, their fertilizer covers the whole pasture just a little at a time, it’s spread naturally which enhances the pasture soil.
  • Bottom line: all of this is good and healthy for the chickens, and for our environment. My chickens are happy, they sleep, and they are treated as Created creatures, not little biological meat machines.  It’s not as efficient, but my practices make very good food for you and me.

Now, let’s talk about feed.

Lately I’ve been hearing about “vegetarian fed chicken.”  Of course we all know about “organic feed” (or do we?), grocery store feed (at least the little I know about it, this information is also not readily available), and finally the feed I use which is certified non-GMO feed.

Let me try and break this down quickly.  You must be getting tired of reading this, and if I keep going this will turn into a “research” type paper and put you right to sleep … while I am just giddy, typing away.  🙂

  • Grocery store chicken feed: I can’t speak definitively to what’s in this feed, however I have read some things that I’ll share. The huge corporations that fill most grocery store shelves do not have a policy of openness about their growing methods and feed “cocktails” so we’re left getting snippets here and there and forced to make educated guesses based on those snippets.
    • I have read more than once that they grind up chickens that have died, then mix this “grind” into the feed and feed it back to other chickens. This is gross, but it is efficient. (I have no proof of this, and I didn’t save the link so it’s from my memory and technically unconfirmed, fyi)

      • This is an efficient way to deal with all of the dead chickens their system(s) produce. And technically, the dead chickens are protein, yucky but technically true.
      • It’s unscrupulous because those dead chickens were sick, and they’re feeding that sickness to other birds which will be harvested and placed on your grocers shelves.
    • Dude that’s gross! Efficient, but gross.
    • This is not healthy for the chickens. I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system.
  • Vegetarian feed: Chickens are omnivores, which means they need  to eat all types of food, including “meat” which is normally bugs and worms.  So then, why is it considered good to only feed a vegetarian diet to a chicken? 
    • It’s not!
    • This is a marketing ploy to grab your attention thinking vegetarian is the highest and best.
    • An even better marketing ploy; I recently saw “organic vegetarian” somewhere too, which is just an amped up version of a system that isn’t good.
    • This is not healthy for the chickens. I don’t think unhealthy chickens can become healthy food for you and me, but it’s an efficient system to market and get your attention.
  • Organic feed: Unless you actually have a personal relationship with the farmer claiming “organic,” then you likely don’t know what organic means to your own personal food.
    • By law “organic” does not mean pesticide-free.
    • What it does mean, by law, is that the pesticides which are used are “naturally derived,” but there are still pesticides used.
    • So what does “organic fed” really mean to you or to the chicken? I dunno?  Depends on the farmer that grew the feed. 
    • Also, organic feed is
      • Ridiculously costly
      • It can also be low in protein which means I have to use a lot more of a costly feed.
      • And did I mention who knows what organic really is?
    • Organic feed is totally inefficient and costly, and for no good reliable reason.
      • I raised chickens on organic feed once. When they fin-a-lly reached proper weight for harvest, I punched the numbers into a spread sheet.  That was a one-time deal! those chickens were small and cost $30 per chicken. 30 bucks per was my cost, with no profit to pay me for my work.
      • That is just too inefficient and costly.
    • Certified non-GMO feed: I use non-GMO feed from Kalmbach Feeds, which is located in north central Ohio (local). So what does non-GMO feed mean? It means that the grain used to make the feed isn’t genetically modified. 
      • I personally think the non-GMO label is the most honest. Non-GMO only claims that the grain hasn’t been genetically modified.
        • Pesticides are used to grow this feed, but remember, organic is not doesn’t mean pesticide free.
      • I can choose the amount of protein that the feed contains, which is really important to me, not necessarily to you. But it’s so important to me I have to mention it. 🙂
      • It’s cost effective, which means I can grow healthy chickens, and sell the chicken to you at a reasonable and good value.
      • Lastly the pasture I raise my chicken on IS pesticide free. I don’t use any pesticides at all. Ever! 
      • I think non-GMO feed, raised on pesticide free pasture, strikes the perfect balance. It allows me to raise healthy Perfect Pastured Poultry for you to eat, while providing me the opportunity to make a living.  Perfect balance.

I think I’ll stop there.  I would love to go on and on and on about my Perfect Pastured Poultry and all its details, but frankly if you’re not convinced by now there isn’t anything more I can add that will cause you to change from the grocery store, raised-in-confinement, low-feathered, poo-breathing, and unhappy chicken you’re eating now to my Happy Perfect Pastured Poultry.

For those who do care about what they eat, I have more information to share.  My next article will be about the different modes of raising chickens, (free-range, cage-free, etc.) and what those words actually mean.  I may include brooding chickens; inside vs. inside … are you as tingly with excitement as I am?

If you’re ready to eat my chicken just stay tuned here, to your inbox, for the details which will be available very soon.

Thank you for your time, good day to you, and God Bless you and yours.

Regards,

Farmer Bob