Our Freedom Ranger chickens are 3.5 weeks old and ready to move outside! They’re brooder has had the lights off for around 3 nights and the manure was steadily building up despite fresh pine shavings scooped in daily…. they’re happy to be on fresh grass and out of the stinky barn!
We handle each chick individually, scooping them up out of the barn, into a trailer and out to the field. They’re a bit terrified of the whole experience but quickly begin exploring, pecking, eating grass seed and climbing around on their new roost. Fresh air makes for happy, healthy chicks and delicious meat!
The next step will be to mow a perimeter and set up the electric poultry netting. We move the tractor daily while the birds are confined inside for 1-2 weeks. Once they’re a bit larger (and too big for ravens to snatch) we open a hatch for them to get out and explore the entire fenced area, using the tractor for shelter and shade. Moving the fenced area to fresh grass as often as necessary ensures the birds have lots of fresh fodder to eat and play in and keeps them active. An active Freedom Ranger chicken, harvested at around 9-10 weeks is plump, tender, has lovely dark meat on the thighs and delicious breast meat with just enough fat under the crispy skin. We are so happy with how lush the pasture is this year: thanks to last year’s crop of chickens and all the fertilizer they’re so good at making.
One of these chicks might have some idea of what is in store for them in a month or so….. Watch out for that back end when picking them up, it can be dangerous! 😉
Interested in supporting our farm and cooking some of our delicious chicken in your kitchen? Email us today to ask about pre-ordering!