Recently we stayed at a small farm in the Bega valley that raises truly pastured chickens. Like, chase you across the paddock pastured chickens.
Each morning, the chickens get let out of their night-time houses, and the houses are moved to fresh grass.
Each day, the chickens roam the paddocks under the watchful eye of their guardian dogs – pecking, napping and living as they will.
Each night, the chickens get tucked up back into their hutches, for warmth and protection.
And then it’s a new day.
You won’t see this sort of broiler (industry lingo for meat bird) chicken production around much, at this point. There’s a lot of reasons why.
Economies of scale, the labour involved and the lack of nearby chicken abattoirs for many small farmers who can’t afford to set up on-farm processing. There’s many other reasons too, like our society’s demand and production of an endless supply of cheap, white meat. With all the consequences that brings.
But. Despite all that, the two Farmer girls of Autumn Farm produce small batch, pasture raised, strong legged, healthy as anything, downright happy chickens anyway.
As a result, their lucky chicken CSA customers periodically have access to ethically raised, local meat. Not an everyday food, but a cherished sometimes meal.
This particular day, Genevieve was off adventuring with the kids, so Annie and Autumn Farm intern Bhavani did the morning chicken chores.
Because that’s how these girls start their day.
More farmers like these, please.