Frequently Asked Questions
Which chicken is best: Natural, Organic, or Pastured?
Buying the best healthiest and best tasting chicken shouldn't be this confusing.
USDA guidelines specify that a chicken may be designated as natural if it does not contain artificial flavoring, coloring ingredients, chemical preservatives or any other synthetic ingredients. The USDA certification is minimal at best and offers no guarantee that the chicken hasn't been fed antibiotics or growth enhancers and raised in a confinement house. All it addresses is the finished product and any conventionally raised chicken may be designated as natural.
Organic chickens differ in that their feed must be certified as organic and may not contain growth enhancers or antibiotics. However, there is absolutely no guarantee that an organic chicken will ever be allowed in a pasture. Many certified organic chickens live in confinement houses and while technically they may have access to the outdoors, all that means is that a small door with an opening to the outside is available to the chickens should they choose to use it. In many cases, the yard is hard packed dirt and nothing more. Whenever you say eggs or chickens labeled as vegetarian, you can be sure that the chicken has never ventured outside as bugs are a natural source of a chicken's diet.
Pastured chickens are raised outside in moveable field pens with constant access to fresh air and grass. Many people are not aware that grasses are an integral part of a healthy chickens diet and help generate essential Omega three fatty acids. Grass also plays a big role in the delicious flavor of our birds.
Conventionally raised chickens are allowed less than half of the space that Dewberry Hills Farm chickens have and are in an intensely stressful environment.
As our chickens have ample space and a clean living environment, we do not need to pump them full of antibiotics to keep them alive. We do provide a supplemental feed ration of locally raised grain and trace minerals.
Why do your chickens cost more?
Actually when you compare the cost of our chickens to those available at the industrial organic supermarkets, we are more economical. However, pastured poultry is much more labor intensive. Our pens are moved daily. Our chickens are constantly monitored to ensure the best possible living conditions and fed the highest quality grains. This all takes work.
It is important to consider the hidden costs of cheap confinement house chicken which are many: the cost in fossil fuels to raise, process and transport the meat, the cost for the laborers who work in confinement houses, the cost to the environment and, perhaps most importantly, the cost to you in terms of your health.
If you are what you eat, it stands to reason that you are what your food eats.
How are your chickens processed?
As part of our total commitment to the chicken and to you, we process all our birds right here on the farm in an inspected processing building. Massive amounts of chicken and beef have been recalled from major processing factories over the past five years because of salmonella and E. coli contamination because of unsanitary conditions. Poultry may abused- left in cages for days without food or water or badly mishandled. I'll spare you all the details my research has revealed but it is truly horrific.
We want to make sure that the birds receive the most compassionate care possible, from the time they hatch to the day of their departure.