“From Farm To Table” Getting To Know SKY Farmer’s Market: Pastured Chicken at Au Naturel Farm: So, what makes it “pastured chicken?”

By Paul and Alison Wiediger, aunaturelfarm.homestead.com
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 09:00 AM CST

We start with day old chicks in a brooder. It’s important for the first few weeks – until they grow feathers – to keep them warm and out of drafts – just like a mother hen would.

Chicks in the brooder
Baby chicks in the brooder

Then, at about 3-4 weeks, depending on the weather, we put them out on pasture where they can live like chickens, enjoying sunshine and warm breezes, and eating bugs, worms and grass to supplement their grain diet.

pastured broilers
Young broilers in a pasture pen

It’s a lot of work! They get fed and watered twice every day, and their shelter, which protects them from rain and predators, is moved to fresh green grass once or twice a day for 5 weeks. We think the green grass makes a huge difference in the taste of the chicken we raise.

Moving to fresh pasture
Moving the pen

You may wonder why you can only get our fresh chicken in the summer. Well, it’s just not pastured chicken if it isn’t raised on pasture, and pastures in our state are only green from about Mid-March to late October. So, if you want pastured chicken in the winter, we encourage you to buy a few extras in the summer and freeze them.

Au Naturel Farm will be selling fresh pastured broilers at the SKY Farmers Market next month on Saturday July 21.

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