Thursday, 5 July 2012

No Free Range Chickens Here

We've been selling some of our eggs at our driving range business lately, and the first question people ask us, is "are they free range?"  Hmmm.  No.
"No" in that they are fenced in. Most people think "free range" means that the animal is allowed to roam freely.  Not so.  According to government standards, to label an item, be it meat or eggs as "free range", the animal has to have had access to the outside.  This could easily mean a teeny tiny run with nothing but dirt to peck about in.

Now for a little story.  When our children were very small,  the youngest a baby, we did let our chickens, geese and ducks free range on our property, and occasionally, they even jumped the fence to our neighbors'.  Ahem.  The neighbor then began an extensive backyard renovation in which he totally leveled his land, first clearing all fences and debris.  That, coupled with our goats and llamas wrecking the fence to eat the same neighbor's trees, made easy access for coyotes.  In 2 early morning raids, 3 coyotes devastated our flock, killing over 20 birds in all, including our beloved toulouse goose, who was not only an expensive bird, but a lovely one.  After that, we gave away the llamas and goats and didn't have much for animals for a while.  The kids were keeping me pretty busy anyway.

After a couple of years, kids got a little older, and we missed our chickens.  So we started adding a few, here and there.  But THIS time, we not only fenced them, but we diligently lock them up, every night.

Instead of letting them free range now, we feed them the best we can.  They get a new garden planted just for them, every year, all of our organic kitchen scraps, and all the cuttings from the garden.
Now if they're not happy hens, I don't know what is!

1 comment:

  1. Graet post MOM!! I agree are hens are some of the luckiest hens in the WROLD!!! amelie