Our Pastured Poultry
-“Chiricana Chicken”- Supplying Chiriqui Province with Farm Fresh Grass-Fed Chicken-
Living in Panama the last two years, we have bought most of our chicken, cut up in pieces in large bags from one of the outlet stores in David. We found most times, it tasted as if it had been frozen– thawed and then re-frozen. Frankly, in our opinion, it tasted really– bad. We switched to the entire chickens they sold and they tasted “off “ as well, but in a different way. We decided to stop eating chicken.
I then decided since we raise our own beef and sheep for meat, why not raise chicken? I had raised Cornish Cross before. My birds had been tender, fresh and juicy. I knew what went into the bird and the slaughter process was done respectfully and humanely.
So here we are, offering our bountiful harvest of chicken from our farm to your table.
- Farm fresh grass-fed whole Cornish Cross chicken: Introductory Special $1.99/lb. (Regular price $2.49/ lb.) (Most of the chickens will weigh around 4 lbs.)
- Free-range chicken: $2.49/ lb. (Limited quantity available in January 2014)
- We offer a family discount for those who purchase 9 chickens a month– the 10th chicken is free!!!
- Large Brown Hen Eggs: $3.00/ dozen. (Available in March 2014)
- We offer wholesale discounts. Please inquire for more information.
As we are offering limited quantities of chicken every month, it is necessary to pre-order to ensure you will get the number of chicken you need on a month to month basis. Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order.
Our goal is to raise our chickens in the most natural way we can, so the chickens live the best life during their time here on earth. We want to love and care for them, just as much as we care for our goats and other animals on this farm.
As so aptly put by one of the founding fathers of Natural Korean Farming, Mr Cho –“A farmer should have parental love towards his crop and livestock. This is a heart of a true farmer…”.
This is where our hearts are.
I encourage you to please read about how we raise our birds and why. We are evolving in the process of the best way to raise them, so for current information contact us– either by email or better yet– set up an appointment to tour the farm. ( We will be offering farm tours beginning in January 2014!)
How We Raise Our Chicken & Why
We receive our newly hatched fluffy yellow chicks and keep them atop a deep litter system of rice hulls. They need a heat lamp for around 3-4 weeks, until they feather out and are able to maintain their own body temperature. They are given a diet of freshly cut-up grass and/or herbs and antibiotic-free chicken starter. We also give them ACV (apple cider vinegar) and molasses in their water, as a natural immune system booster and vitamin supplement.
The chickens will then be moved into our new 1,300 sq ft chicken house. Our chicken house is fashioned after the Korean Natural Farming poultry housing model:
- The chicken house does not have a concrete floor, as separating the chickens from the soil can cause disease. The flooring is “carpeted” with a deep bedding of rice hulls and sprayed with “good” bacteria, to keep the flooring clean and odor free.
- The roof is made of galvanized metal sheets which conducts heat into the house. It also has a skylight that allows sunlight to illuminate 1/3 of the floor throughout all the day to add natural light into the building and naturally disinfect the flooring.
- The walls are made entirely of galvanized chicken wire. This helps to disperse the heat conducted by the metal roof and allows a continuous passage of warm and cool air into the interior to take away moisture from the floor. In this fashion the birds can enjoy the gentle breeze we have here and receive sunshine.
At first we offered our Cornish Cross chickens liberty in the pasture– but these hybridized birds do not like to travel too far from their food bowls, so we have decided to raise them indoors inside their sunny enclosure. The instinct to forage and have other “normal” chicken behavior has been pretty much been bred out of these birds. This is the truth of the matter.
Our older Cornish Cross eat a diet of at least 25% fresh cut grass, herbs and/or high protein plants. If these birds are not motivated to go out to the pasture, we decided we will bring the pasture to them! The remaining part of their diet is grain supplemented with grit. They also receive ACV and molasses in their water, just as they did as chicks.
The free range chickens will have two acres of divided pasture, which they will rotate through to forage for insects , to nibble on grass and enjoy the sunshine. At night they will be locked up in the chicken house to keep them safe from predators.
Our free range birds are the Panamanian “Rojo” and “Negra” chickens. Our Rojos and Negras are still youngsters right now. These are a dual purpose bird for our lovely large brown eggs and meat.
We are beginning to implement the Natural Korean Farming chicken diet with this group of birds. This diet is basically brown rice for 50 days, smashed egg yolk for the first two weeks to imitate the “Mothers milk”, supplemented with bamboo leaves after day 3 and then adding rice husks to their diet. I will be sprinkling a poultry starter mash over their rice– to gently “salt” it with grain. After they are feathered they will have access to pasture to forage for insects and find bits of green grass there. We will then supplement their diet with organic fruits and vegetables, whey and goat milk kefir from our farm and a diet of approx 30% grain, as their condition warrants.
We will soon be experimenting with a moveable chicken pen, which would be moved daily onto fresh grass. My concern is the torrential rain we receive in the rainy season (chickens do not do well in wet weather) and the heat we have in the dry season. I certainly do not want any birds to suffer and/or perish due to extreme weather conditions of either direction.
We also are currently trialing the black soldier fly, as a supplemental protein to these birds to lower their grain requirements even further. We are currently starting hundreds of high protein plants this month– Boton de Oro, Moringa and also trialing another green feed.
And if we can find a good source of affordable wheat or barely, we will be supplementing our birds with sprouted grain. We have a lot of ideas to better the quality of our birds and we know their diet will continue to change and improve in the next year.
The Benefits of Pastured Poultry
The health benefits of pastured poultry versus commercial-raised poultry:
- More and increased levels of Omega-3s
- Higher levels of Vitamins A, C, and E
- Higher levels of beta-carotene
- Less fat
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Superior texture and flavor
For example, Dr. Heather Karsten of Penn State University did experiments comparing eggs produced by chickens fed only grain, and chickens raised on pasture and grain. The pastured birds produced almost three times more omega-3 fat in their eggs than the grain only birds. Pasturing also raised the levels of vitamin A and E in the eggs. The longer the animals were on pasture, the more vitamins they produced,” Karsten says.
While the benefits of pasture (fresh grass and greens!) are not to be overlooked, chickens still need supplementation with grain, as they only have one stomach and cannot get all their nutrients from pasture alone, like cows and other ruminants.
Our Birds versus Conventional birds
Our chickens are not given:
- Or cleaned in up to 40 chlorine baths after slaughter
Our chickens are given:
- Clean living conditions
- Sunshine and fresh air
- Green organic grasses and herbs
- Natural preventive treatments
- A respectful and humane life and slaughter
Thank you for taking the time to read about us and our products, if you have questions, feel free to ask!
I will be updating this page and our blog with more pictures, videos of our venture and/or changes over the coming weeks, so check back with us often!