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The latest from Watson Farms (Newsletter #5)

We hope you’re enjoying our newsletters!  You’ll find a lot of information packed in each one such as what’s keeping us busy right now, what stages different sets of livestock are in, product offering news, and much more! 

One goal with this is to establish and nurture a direct relationship between you (the well-informed consumer) and us (a pasture-based farm).  That’s something that industrial agriculture and supermarkets will never be able to fully duplicate.  Thanks for your support and enjoy the latest from Watson Farms!

What’s keeping us busy

New Feeder Calves

We recently received some new feeder calves from a partner farm in Virginia.  These are premium quality calves that are South Poll influenced.  South Poll is a breed that has been developed to thrive in warm climates and do well on grass only.  They are usually smaller-framed animals which makes them do well in a grass-finishing program like ours.  

Below, you can see Noah meeting some of them for the first time.

After letting the calves get acclimated to a new farm for a day or two we turned them in with the main herd where plenty of spring grass is growing very fast, and where we need more mouths to consume an abundance of grass. 

Every time we allow the cattle to clip off the grass, the plant also sheds roots below the soil surface which feeds the soil with an ever-important source of carbon.  This is the secret that many consumers have not realized yet – grass fed/finished cattle that are intensively grazed can be the answer to sequestering atmospheric carbon! 

Check out this film for more information on why it is so important to know your farmer and to support those who are committed to the right practices.

Below, you can see Abby on the UTV just after moving the herd of about 160 head to a new paddock of approximately 2 acres.  

Keeping the broilers on the move

We are fully committed raising our pastured chickens using the best possible practices.  This is why we are adamant about moving pens each day!  This ensures the chickens get a new buffet each day and that they are consuming the maximum amount of pasture resources possible.  We do feed a non-GMO feed ration, but this definitely does not account for 100% of their daily intake.  Take a look at the environment they are able to enjoy!

Warmer weather = snake sightings!

Each year as we perform different tasks around the farm we inevitably spot a number of snakes.  This year is off to a quick start for sightings!

While mowing some grass this past week, I ended up accidently killing these two Copperhead snakes at the same time.  Just before that I spotted a King Snake nearby which are non-venomous and can help control populations of venomous snakes.  


First Tour Date of 2021!

There’s still slots available for our April 10 Tour!  It’s free for immediate families of our Herd Members.

  • The date/time is April 10 at 10:00am.
  • We look forward to these tours as it lets us talk with customers at more length than is usually possible.  It also lets you see in person where and how your food is raised. 
  • We plan to have tour offerings about once per month.
  • Hit the button for more details on the April 10 tour.

What makes us different

With this segment we plan to highlight one aspect of our farm that makes us different from other farms.

Watson Farms – Daily Moves for Broilers

As I alluded to earlier, we are committed to providing our chickens with a fresh buffet of pasture each day after we turn them out from the brooder pens.

We think this is of the utmost importance for many reasons and here are a few:

  • Maximum intake from “the salad bar.”
    • While we think our GMO-free grain ration is top-notch, we know that the pasture imparts much of the best nutrition elements into the meat which our customers demand.  These are characteristics such as high omega 3s, 
  • Moving away from yesterday’s manure.
    • Virtually no farm animal does well when it has to live on it’s own manure.  (Can you blame them?)
  • Life on pasture in general provides a better life for the birds.
    • They love being in their natural environment and they thrive because of it.
  • The manure is deposited evenly on the pasture!
    • No need for heavy equipment – let the birds put the fertilizer exactly where it needs to be!
  • And Much More!
    • There’s a lot more reasons for daily pasture moves that we may have to continue another time unless I risk this email being too lengthy!  

Other Farms

Many of our broiler-raising counterparts are not as committed to daily moves for their chickens.  Some possible systems include:

  • Stationary housing with “access to outdoors.”
    • This is where the birds are raised in a normal confinement house but are allowed access to a permanent foraging area via a door or hole in the wall of the building.
    • Some birds may never actually go outside because there may be no incentive to do so being that the ground outside becomes completely denuded of any grass or insects.  But they could still be marketed as having access to pasture.  
  • “Day ranging systems”
    • This is where the chickens are able to roam inside a section of pasture often bound by electric netting fence.  Their housing structure is portable and hopefully moves very often inside the netting fence until a fence reset is required to allow new pasture to be accessed.  
    • This system is similar to what we do for our laying hens, but we think that daily shelter moves works best for our broiler operation.  
  • Take a look at this website for more information about why daily pasture moves are important!

Huge Chicken Sale! ūüźĒ

Our chicken sale continues for now!

These are some of the best prices EVER on our truly pasture-raised, non-GMO chicken products.  As you can see below, many products are 25% off or more while our bundles are as much as 15% off the already-discounted bundle price. Head over to the website and stock up!


Thanks again for being partners in this endeavor of local, pasture-raised proteins that has truly transformed our farm.  We look forward to continuing this transition while serving you long into the future.

Sincerely,

Matt Watson and family