Over the coming weeks we are going to use our blog as a tool to educate our customers, along with fellow farmers, about the methods we are using to raise our animals.  

The first part of the series will be our Pastured Poultry.  We will start with our Cornish Cross Broilers followed by Freedom Rangers, Laying Hens, Dual Purpose Cockerels, Heritage Turkeys, Broad Breasted Turkeys, and Buff Geese.

This is our second attempt at raising Cornish Cross Broilers.  The first attempt didn’t go well due to poor planing, the birds should have been butchered the week before Stef and I got married.  However because planning for the wedding, honeymoon, and moving into our new house took so much of our time they were processed about 5 weeks later then they should have been.  These birds were huge, they looked like turkeys.  We decided to hold off on raising them again.

This spring we made the plans to raise them again.  We built a hoop house that will be used as a chick brooder and a greenhouse.  This building is 10′ x 16′

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Inside of the hoop house we have several a few small brooders set up for the chicks when they are 1 day – 1 week old.  These brooders are approximately 5′ x 5′ and 2′ tall they have a hanging light, a hanging feeder, and a water font.  If it is cold out we may also cover a portion of the brooder for the first few days. 

We purchase our chicks from NEPPA Hatchery located in Fort Plain, NY.  We buy locally to keep our money in the area, help support another local small business, and we are able to pick up the chicks which reduces the on the chicks.  http://neppahatchery.homestead.com/services.html

When the chicks arrive at the farm we place them in the brooder individually and dip their beaks into the water font.  The brooder has fresh feed in the feeder as well as sprinkled on the ground in a corner, we also try to feed 6 boiled eggs/100 chicks for the first couple days.  The eggs give them a real head start on a healthy life.  Water and feed are checked twice daily, more if the weather is extreme.  Fresh wood shavings are added as needed to keep the bedding clean.

After week one the chicks are either gain access to the entire hoop house or a bigger portion depending on what other birds are brooding at that time.  The chicks always have access to fresh water and feed.

At 3-4 weeks the chicks are moved to the “Broiler Maker” in the pasture.  This enclosure is 10′ x 12′ x 2′ with a metal roof and sides covering about half of the structure, and 1″ chicken wire over the rest.

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The broiler maker is moved daily to fresh grass.  Fresh water and food is added twice daily.

At 7-8 weeks the birds are processed, and ready for your table.  Currently we are having our birds processed by The Garden of Spices in Greenwich, NY.  We choose to have them processed in lieu of doing them ourselves for a couple reasons.  The overhead to purchase or rent the processing equipment, we are still setting up several enterprises and need the time, and we also wanted to make sure there is a good customer base before taking on the overhead.

Ben Shaw runs The Garden of Spices with his wife and children.  They  processes on Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings.  I drop off the birds in the morning and pick up nicely packages chicken in the early afternoon.

We are selling our broilers as whole birds only this year for $4.00 per pound.  Please email josh@westwindacres.com or call 518-361-3167 to place your order.

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