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Practices & Processes

Healthy chickens are happy chickens. 

It takes just 45 days for a chicken to be ready for market. Many people think this comes from the chickens being fed hormones and steroids. But it doesn’t—the federal government does not allow chickens to be given any type of growth hormones. The fast growth is due to the chickens’ wholesome, nutritious diet; comfortable living conditions; and strong health characteristics through selective breeding—done naturally.

From start to finish, our chickens are raised with the utmost care by experts in animal science, nutrition, rearing and handling. On the farm, they are cared for by independent family farm partners who, on average, have been raising chickens for us for more than 20 years—some for three generations.

What our Chickens Eat & Drink

Our feed mills make all of the feed our chickens ever eat—using locally grown corn, soy meal and other natural ingredients as well as different recipes to meet the changing nutritional and feeding needs of growing chickens. Did you know, chicken feed is crumbled for baby chicks to make it easier for them to eat, and pelleted for older chickens to prevent “picky” eating? Our chicken feed program’s rigorous standards for sourcing and routine lab-testing of feed ingredients and finished feeds ensures chicken feed is safe, wholesome and nutritious. 

Basic Chicken Feed Ingredients (actual “recipes” vary based on age of chickens):

  • 60% corn
  • 20-30% soybeans
  • 5% fat/fat blends
  • 0-10% wholesome grain byproducts (nutritious byproducts from bakeries that would otherwise go to waste)
  • 5% vitamins, minerals & micro-nutrients
  • NO antibiotics, animal byproducts (i.e. meat/bone meal or vegetable/animal fat blends), hormones or steroids

Birds drink clean, filtered water through enclosed nipple drinkers, so that they don't spill and wet their bedding. Fully contained feed systems are provided—exceeding the number of birds per feeder guidelines established by the American Humane Certified® Farm Program.

Where our Chickens Live

Our chickens are never caged and are free to roam inside modern, climate-controlled barns their entire lives. The barns are enclosed to protect the chickens from predators, disease from wild birds, and the ever-changing weather conditions in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Barns are heated in winter and cooled with tunnel ventilation—a sort of super-AC—in summer.

Birds have adequate space to eat, drink, socialize and sleep (the number of birds we place in the barn meets the established standards of the American Humane Certified® Farm Program). The floor of the barn is covered with dry, natural bedding made from wood chips or rice, oat or sunflower hulls.

How we Know our Chickens are Happy

Like people, chickens express their wellbeing in how much they move around, the sounds they make, etc. Family farmers walk their barns several times a day to check on the chickens, watching bird movement and listening to bird sounds for signs of their level of health and wellbeing. 

Quality, Care and Commitment from Start to Finish

  1. Day-Old Chicks Purchased & Raised into Breeder Hens (a breeder is a chicken that lays eggs)

  2. Breeder Hens then Lay Eggs to be Hatched

  3. Eggs Incubated & Hatched into Baby Broiler Chicks (a broiler is a chicken raised for meat)

  4. Baby Broiler Chicks Raised into Broiler Hens by Contract Family Farm Partners

  5. At Plants, Broiler Chickens Received & Processed Under Strict Guidelines for Humane Treatment

  6. Clean, Raw Chicken is Rapidly Chilled & Packaged under USDA Inspection

  7. Chilled, Quality Chicken Products are Delivered to Warehouse/Distributor Customers who Deliver Them to Grocery Stores, Supermarkets, Grocery/Supermarket Delis, Restaurants & Other Institutions

  8. Chicken Products Feed Millions of Consumers at Home and When Eating Out

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