Hurray for sunshine…and rain, but such extremes??? We’ve been told by seasoned farmers that inclement weather is the norm, not the exception. Our prayers are with all our local neighbors who have suffered losses through the wet and stormy weather we’ve had around here lately. The weather this summer has certainly kept us on our toes, hasn’t it!?
Raising broiler chickens on pasture certainly puts us at the mercy of the weather, especially wet weather. Although we prefer brooding our little broiler chicks on fresh grass where they can enjoy fresh air and sunshine, we haven’t had that option with our first two groups of chicks. Before they are two weeks old, little broiler chicks are VERY fragile and can easily drown in relatively small amounts of water. These babies spent their first two to three weeks in our barn, running around on pine shavings under heat lamps where they were safe and sound.
After rounds of soaking rain, we would try to move our fuzzy little creatures back out onto the grass, only to turn around and bring them back inside as another round of rain was forecasted. One rain came on us quickly and rather unexpectedly, drowning a handful of these poor creatures. After three weeks, the chicks are pretty hardy, but still have limits on how much rain they can handle. As clouds loomed over us threatening another torrential soaking, members of our faithful crew would run out to cover the moveable chicken pens with protective tarps. Then, after the rain had passed, one would go back out and remove the tarp again.
Now, so happy to see the sun shining in the sky, we are faced with a new challenge…HEAT! Our crew now must carefully monitor our bunches of broilers (and layers) to make sure they have plenty of fresh cool water.
And so goes the summer saga of raising pastured poultry. Yes, these birds are labor-intesive! But we believe the end product is worth the time, effort and extra expense of quality non-GMO feed. We think you’ll agree when you experience the delicious flavor and texture of our chicken.