1st Blog entry is about our Pastured Broiler Chickens!

by Nathaniel Huntley

Dear Edgewise Supporter,

I am starting this blog about our farm for a number of reasons. The biggest is that I feel there is a chasm in this modern era that separates the food producer from you, the consumer. That chasm has led to more atrocities, illness, and misconceptions than I care to think about. You are a local food supporter so you don’t need the lecture. This blog is not about all that negativity. This blog is about the positive things we are doing for ourselves, for our community, and for our future. This blog is about what we are doing to stay true to our ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Future Care. We are excited to share this journey with you.


Fall Chickens!

We just harvested our fall broiler chickens and they are for sale on our website now. I think this is a good time to talk about how we raise our meat chickens and why we do it the way we do. I hope you will enjoy this journey!

Our chickens are raised in mobile chicken pens. Current industry standard is eight tenths of a foot per chicken, indoors, for the life of the chicken. Frankly, that’s not enough. We give our chickens 2 square feet per bird, per day. We accomplish this outdoors with mobile pens, which we move every day. The pen is pretty heavy so it doesn’t blow away in the wind or get torn apart by a hungry bobcat, so I use a dolly and a couple of never-flat tires to help.

We do this for a variety of reasons. The first is our health and the health of our supporters. No way we want anyone to eat an animal that lives in its own manure. The chickens get a fresh buffet every day. Grasses, herbs, forbs, bugs, fresh air, sunshine, it all combines for happy, healthy chickens. That makes for happy, healthy humans. That is, of course, the whole point to how we farm.  



(Our 7 year old caring for chicks in the brooder. We get them out on pasture as soon as they can handle the weather, between 2 and 3 weeks old)

The season we raise our birds in is also important. Spring and autumn provide temperatures more comfortable for chickens. They also provide rainfall. This is necessary because it allows the pasture to properly consume the manure. The best grass on our property is always the grass the birds were on 5 or 7 days ago. We don’t have to bring in nitrogen and phosphorous to improve our pasture from some exotic source, the birds provide it locally. We also catch the rainfall from our roof spaces for the birds to drink. Fresh rainwater has to be healthy right? Naturally those seasons provide more direct-from-pasture food sources for our chickens as well.

Our harvest process is even more “hands on.” Without going into too much detail, I’ll say that we do this carefully, by hand, with simple tools and knives. We do a thorough inspection of each bird at each stage of the process, anything that doesn’t look right goes to the 110-pound livestock guardian dog. “Fluffy” thinks he is starving.

(Fluffy may be a gentle giant but woe betide to the bobcat, wild hog, coyote, or neighborhood dog that comes looking for an easy meal.)

I’ve been asked if it is hard to harvest a chicken I have put so much time and care into. To actually do the job.

It is.

It never has been easy and probably shouldn’t be. If it ever gets easy, I’ll need to put more time into my relationship with them while they are alive. I am comforted by the fact that it is hard. It means I have done my best to ensure they have only one bad day. A few bad moments really. I would rather a bad day and a hard end, than a bad life and an easy end. I am also comforted by the fact that I have done all I can to provide my son with the best chicken available. He loves it!

The result is a naturally flavorful and healthy food. We have no need of antibiotics, hormones, medicines or injections of any kind. We believe that if something is contaminated enough to require a bleach bath it is not fit for human consumption. Happy chickens are a joy to cook and eat, they make for healthy people and they taste great! Try one, I am certain your taste buds will know the difference.


Thank you for supporting the local healthy food movement. Without you we are just some folks who have some land.