Chickens roaming free at Soul Food Farm.Photo: Christy McDonaldMy partner and I raise chickens for meat and eggs on 55 acres — a small farm by today’s standards. Along the way, I’ve had to make many tough decisions, be inventive, develop relationships with our customers, and work a lot of 14-hour days to insure our farm’s progress.
The work is hands-on. I spend most of the day out in the pastures collecting eggs by hand, replenishing the birds’ food and water, building coops and shade houses, and managing compost piles. I’m proud of what we do — but I can’t afford to give the birds organic feed.
While certified organic feed is desirable, many chickens are fed organic grains but are still raised in confined quarters. And, when faced with the choice, I believe that treating animals well — and giving them the freedom to walk and roam around, and enjoy their natural behaviors and habitats — is the most important piece of the puzzle. Organic grains will not alleviate the inhumane conditions of overcrowded barns, poor housing, poor water quality, or lack of access to fresh pastures and forage (nor the diseases a... Read more