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 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
After some rain and a chance for storms, we were able to move our broiler chickens from the brooder house to their pasture shelters on Friday. They know exactly what to do with the fresh, tender spring grass that was waiting on them. They clipped it off like a lawnmower just in time for their first shelter move the next day.
We move them daily using Salatin-style shelters that don’t require a tractor which allows us to service them in all kinds of weather. Larger mobile range coops require a 4wd tractor and when fields are saturated with rain, you can’t move them without making ruts and damaging pasture and soil structure.
All pastured poultry is labor-intensive, but we find that it a worth-while tradeoff for birds that are able to enjoy their natural environment and provide you and us nutrient-dense meat that can be consumed with confidence.
Rotating the Herd
After a wet winter, we’re glad to have all our cattle back on pasture! We used a relatively small amount of hay which is great because hay requires a lot of labor, fuel, and time not to mention that cattle can do much better on grass.
First Tour Date of 2021!
The April 10 tour is now open for all customers (not just 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.
Since we just turned our broilers out to pasture last week, it’s a good time to point out that we aim to maximize the time our broilers spend on pasture. We have a rule of thumb that we move them out of the brooder house at 3 weeks old and no later than 4 weeks old.
The flock this past week was about 3 weeks and 4 days old. We were a little later turning them out due to rain and the potential for storms. Cold weather is not as much of a threat as flooding rains can be. We turn their supplemental heat off by 2.5 weeks old in order to “harden them off” and get them used to cooler temperatures.
They absolutely love turnout day! It’s amazing how they know immediately how to forage through their pasture allotment for the day. They also learn quickly that when we move the pen each morning they get a new buffet and they line up at the front of the pen to be the first in line.
Many of our pasture-based colleagues do a great job with maximizing their birds’ time on pasture, but we noticed some that we follow fail to get them on pasture until one or two weeks before slaughter. This is unfortunate for several reasons, but the most obvious is that the birds aren’t able to forage for the vast majority of their lives. The more grass, forbs, legumes, bugs, and worms that a bird has access to, the healthier the bird is. The meat will also be packed with more nutrients.
So would you rather invest in a farm that maximizes their flock’s time on pasture or minimizes it because it requires less work that way?
Wherever you purchase your chicken, ask the farmer how much time that bird was able to spend on pasture.
Huge Chicken Sale!
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.