Pastured Poultry

How to Get Pastured Poultry Directly from the Farm

Pastured poultry is one of our most asked about products. We view chicken and duck as a specialty product in Colorado because you can only reliably raise them outdoors for 5 months out of the year. It becomes too risky to the young bird’s health to try and push the timeline any more than that. Because of this, we tend to sell out very quickly when we raise pastured poultry products. 

If you are seriously interested in purchasing chicken, duck, or turkey, the best way to hear about when it’s available is to join our newsletter here. We send advanced notice and a pre-order form via the newsletter when poultry products are available.

Our current inventory from the 2022 season is as follows:

2022 Pastured Chicken- Sold Out
2022 Pastured Pekin Duck- Sold Out
2022 Thanksgiving Turkeys- Sold Out

How We Raise Pastured Poultry at Bluebird Sky

Over the course of our farming careers, both of us have encountered and run many different types of pastured poultry systems. The system we’ve arrived at running on our farm for ducks and chickens is a mixture of many of these different methods. The chickens live in a heat controlled brooder for the first 4 weeks of their life until they’re fully feathered. Then they move out of our brooder into an 8’x8’ hoop house. They live in the hoop house for a few days to make sure they have time to learn that it’s home. After a few days of homing in on their new coop, they start to be released in the morning to a fenced in pasture. The hoop houses move daily and the fenced in pasture section moves every 3-5 days. The chickens are closed into the hoop house each night to protect them from predators. The chickens and ducks have access to fresh water and unlike our other birds, always have access to feed. The breed we raise was bred to be a good forager, so all of our pastured poultry meat is getting a supplemental diet of bug protein. This dives them a rich, yellow fat you simply can’t get in the store. They’re raised like this until their processing date.

To control quality and because of the circumstances we find ourselves in farming where we do, we do all of our processing of pastured poultry on the farm. This means that we have total control over their quality of life from the moment they arrive on the farm as day old chicks until they give the ultimate sacrifice to nourish our farm community. It’s hard work, both physically and emotionally, but we feel it’s an important step in getting animal protein to the community and we’re happy to play our part.

The system we raise turkeys in is very similar but slightly different. We only do one batch of a heritage breed of turkey each year for Thanksgiving. We raise White Holland turkeys which take around 7 months to reach a good weight for a Thanksgiving bird (12-18#). This is quite a bit longer than the broad-breasted turkeys you find in stores. This means the birds have longer to forage and produce a delicious end product. The extended time raising them lets them consume more protein and develop more, resulting in a tastier end product. The turkeys live in a hoop house permanently. That hoop house is set up on skids and dragged to a new section of pasture every morning. As with our other pastured poultry, they have access to fresh water and feed at all times. 

We don’t freeze our turkeys at Bluebird Sky Farmstead. All of our turkeys are pre-ordered in the months leading up to Thanksgiving and then we process them sometime during the week of Thanksgiving. This allows our customers to enjoy a fresh, never frozen turkey with their family or friends on the day of. Make sure you join our newsletter if you’re hoping to get a Thanksgiving turkey next year! They sell out fast.

What Pastured Poultry Does for Us

The pastured poultry system serves a similar purpose as our laying hens. They rotate around our various pastures laying down fertilizer for us. Like our other regenerative systems, we get the birds off the pasture quickly and allow the pasture to heal, storing carbon long term. Because meat birds grow quicker than laying hens, they actually perform this task a bit better than our laying hens do.

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