Here is how we define some of these nebulous and often misused terms.
Pastured - Chickens that are raised on pasture, but not allowed to roam
called pastured chickens. These chickens are normally raised in houses called chicken
These houses have no floors which allow the chicken to eat grass and bugs along with the food
them. Every day the tractors are moved forward providing the chickens with new, clean,
bugs. The chicken tractors provide the chickens protection from predators like fox,
coons, hawks, and neighborhood dogs while allowing them to express their natural tendency to
scratch, and be a chicken. The chickens leave behind a trail of manure which fertilizes
fields and cow pastures.
Free-Range - Legally the term means that a chicken must have free
"access" to the
outdoors. Based on this definition, a chicken can be raised in a conventional confinement
poultry operation and can be called free range if the door of the house is left open providing
the outdoors. There are several large poultry operations that use this definition of
a marketing tool. There are several small farms which truly free-range their chickens
their birds to roam the pastures 24 hours a day. Protection from predators is normally
guard dogs or donkeys. All of our laying hens, broilers and turkeys are free ranged.
Natural or All Natural - Of all of the commonly used
marketing terms, this
one is the most confusing. In the meat industry, when a product is labeled "natural" or
natural", it simply means that nothing additional was added to the product at the time of
The term doesn't reflect the way the animal was raised nor the food it was fed. A
raised chicken, turkey, or hog that was fed feed containing antibiotics, could still be marketed
Antibiotic Free - Any animal fed feed containing antibiotics can
as "antibiotic free" when processed after the withdrawl period. In the case of chickens,
the anitibiotics have a 7 day withdrawl period; chickens processed on the 8th day can be
"antibiotic free". Except in severe cases of illness, to prevent death of a sick animal,
animals never recieve antibiotics.
Boar - A male hog used for breeding. Boars normally stay in our
until they reach 4 years old or become too large and mean for us to handle safely. Boars
used for meat due to the strong smell and taste of the meat.
Sow - A term refering to a female hog once she has had her first litter
Most of our females are kept in the breeding herd for 3 to 4 years.
Barrow - A castrated male hog raised for meat only.
gilt - A term used to refer to a female pig prior to her having her
first litter of
Farrowing House - Building used to house a sow and her litter from birth
baby pigs are 4 weeks old.
Nursery House - Building used to hold baby pigs from 4 weeks old until
they are 7 or 8
weeks old. At 7 or 8 weeks of age the pigs are big and healthy enough to be moved to
Brooder Room - A temperature controled building used to house day old
they are 4 weeks old and capable of being moved to the pasture.
Chicken Tractor - A portable structure used to house broiler chickens.
two sizes of houses, 10'X 12' and 12' X 20'. The house has no floor which allows the
eat grass and provides the farm with a continuos source of fertilizer. All of our chicken
are moved to new, fresh, grass daily.