A cup of tea on the desk, Emma playing by my side, the rain is falling steadily outside the window…today’s a good day to reflect.
Yesterday was our first ‘chicken day’ of the summer. It’s the day where 12 weeks of hard work comes to an end. In the dark of the morning, the alarm rang at 4:30am. We got up and got ready and headed to the field where we loaded 90 meat chickens. By 5:30am they were all loaded and Shawn drove off with them to the butcher. Never an easy day. Deciding to take an animal’s life is NEVER easy. No matter how many times this day rolls around, it never gets easier, but we are so very thankful for these animals’ lives and for the nourishment they provide to our bodies.
We picked up the processed chickens later in the evening and customers came and went to get their fresh chickens. We finished up shortly after 9pm. Then we went on to do our regular evening chores and came in to get some supper. I’m not sure exactly what we ate, but we put something in our bodies and then crawled into bed at 10:30pm. It was a long day. But it’s always an exciting day meeting the customers to provide them with their chicken for the year. It’s really a humbling task to be able to produce good, pasture raised food for families.
Our chicken season started out rough. VERY rough. The first night home with 160 chicks a major thunderstorm rolled through with heavy rains. This took 70 chicks from us. Farming is hard. It’s not for the faint of heart. And if there was a day I wanted to quit…that was probably it. But we lifted our heads and moved forward. It hurt a lot for a few days, but we moved forward.
For 12 weeks we watered, fed and moved the chickens. This year the chickens were raised all on organic feed from Barnyard Organics. It’s a switch we thought long and hard about, but knew was the right one. We feel we’ve bought the best feed possible, to produce the best product we can and meanwhile get to support another local farm here on PEI.
This year, was our third year for raising the chickens on pasture. We raise them on pasture for a few reasons, it gives them fresh air, grass and sunlight each day, they are more active when outdoors, they are cleaner, their manure gets spread directly on the field, and it makes for a much more delicious meat! Between the last year we raised them in the barn and the first year we pasture-raised them, the change in taste was amazing! So there’s no going back for us! We’re sold on pasture raising…well everything.
So here we are, 12 weeks later. Our first of two (possibly three) chicken days behind us. It’s a day we work hard towards every year. It’s almost like our ‘finish line’. Except this year, the first chicken day was more like a hurdle because when we leaped over that one we headed directly for the next, as we have another 160 meat chicks currently on pasture. They are just about three weeks old and will be ready for processing by late October.
We pour ourselves and our entire summer into the meat and eggs we raise on the farm. It’s a lot of hard, but good work. And we hope it shows in the final product. To those of you who buy this meat and support our farm we thank you.