Chickens

 

Our chickens are a cross between Plymouth Rock and Cornish hens named the Cornish Cross. This breed was developed because it produces massive breast muscles.  As a result, the chicken is heavy on white meat and lighter on dark meat.  They grow quickly, develop early, and convert feed better than all other breeds of chicken.  If you have eaten chicken in the United States, this is the breed you ate.  The larger commercial poultry industry has mechanized systems that capitalize on the short maturation time of these animals.  Subsequently, the Cornish Cross have developed a reputation as weak sickly birds with low tolerance from "real life" conditions.  This reputation is simply unfounded.  It is confined commercial scale operations that create poor living environments.  Our birds live and grow on pasture as soon as they are able to survive without supplemental heat.  Consuming grass, clover, dandelion, yarrow, plantain, chickweed, bugs, and the occasional mouse, these animals flourish as we move them across pasture twice daily.  Their ration, similar to the pigs but higher in protein, constitutes roughly 80% of their diet.  The rest is pasture.  Following cattle, goats, and rabbits in the rotation, our chickens provide a final cleaning of animal manures and thatching of pasture plants before the long rest period.  Three days after the chickens are moved the pasture sees new growth.  By 7 days of rest there is a burst of plant growth supplemented by the nitrogen deposited in the chicken manure.