Humane Treatment - Blog 4

Humane Treatment – Blog 4

 “True benevolence or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.” – Joseph Addison


Whether it’s a pet like a dog or a horse or a source of food like a lamb or a chicken, the way we raise our animals and the environment they live in has a huge impact not just on their happiness, but also their health.


I love seeing chickens being chickens and enjoying sunshine, bugs and scratching around in the dirt. By supporting small, local farms that raise chickens in their natural habitat, you not only enjoy a better quality of meat but you get to support a lifestyle for animals that is humane.


We’ve all seen the images of factory farmed chickens in extremely large groups, stuck in tight quarters with no space for fresh air. They have no access to sunlight or fresh greens and insects. Their lives are not the lives of a natural animal. The cruelty of the way they are raised is not just upsetting, it is also unhealthy for both them and us. Spending their lives surrounded by fecal dust, with no space to exercise results in poor nutrition and weak flavor and texture. Not only are they on antibiotics but their diets are different from what a chicken would naturally eat. 


Stress affects not just the mind but the body. Just as a lifestyle of stress and a poor diet ruins our health, it also ruins the health of animals. It brings us joy to see our animals living their best life, enjoying freedom and safety, and being raised and eventually processed humanely.


Supporting local farms is the compassionate, healthy choice for all of us, people and animals alike. When you place your order and pick up fresh, healthy pastured poultry you’ll enjoy more delicious meals, with better nutrients and better flavor, and you’ll support a happy lifestyle for the chickens and the farmers. To order see

Flavorful Fryers

Blog 3                                                              February 17, 2019

“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a Craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” Wendell Berry

 Roast it in your oven, simmer it in curry, or add it to your salad – chicken has more uses than you can count. It’s a staple of most of our cooking and something you always keep in the freezer for snowy days when all you want is a good pot of chicken noodle soup. Since we all look to chicken for a versatile source of protein, it’s important to make sure it’s delivering just that: protein and flavor. This is where our pastured poultry really shines.

 Packing more flavor into your cooking

 Last week we talked about the health and environmental benefits of pastured poultry. This week it’s time to talk about flavor. The rich difference in flavor you taste in fresh, farm-raised poultry as opposed to highly processed conventional chicken comes from the environment the chicken was raised in as well as its diet. 

A study published in the journal Poultry Science studied 600 chickens raised in the conditions of mass-production chicken farms and chickens raised in a natural outdoor environment. These researchers found that the chickens raised with exercise, fresh air and access to wild greens had better developed muscles, better textured meat and most importantly, a more tender, juicier flavor.

 Adding more protein to your diet

 An essential part of every diet is a good source of protein and we often turn to chicken for that because it is easily accessible and you can cook it a different way every day. This is another reason why we love pastured poultry. It isn’t just tastier; it’s also more protein rich! Just one farm-fresh chicken breast can supply over 52 percent of most people’s daily protein needs.

 Redefining “fresh” and “natural”

 Every time we go shopping we see the words “fresh” and “natural” everywhere, because every brand knows that’s what we want in our food. But too often “fresh” simply means “freshly thawed.” When we say “fresh” you know for sure what we mean. Chickens are ordered on our website and picked up on site at McKerracher Family Farm on processing day.   You can see the habitat in which your poultry was raised, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine at our farm, and take home a chicken that you know for sure is going straight from the pasture to your dinner table!

 To place a chicken order or learn more about McKerracher Family Farms pastured poultry, click here Our order page is up and running for the season, however our chicken production is limited and some dates go quickly, so please order soon to have your pick-up date confirmed. You only pay a deposit when you order, the balance is due when you pick-up your chickens. Stay tuned for recipes, as we share some of our favorite ways to enjoy some fresh, tasty chicken!


Pastured vs Organic

 “You, as a food buyer, have the distinct privilege of shaping the world your children will inherit. “                                               Joel Salatin


Every good endeavor starts with love. Our search for food that will nurture healthy lives for our children is one that many parents care deeply about.  We raise healthy children and they in turn, raise healthy children.  Two of our ten children were born with severe health challenges. I spent years investigating and developing knowledge on how to help them.  Food and natural high-quality supplements played a major part in their abilities to get better and lead normal lives.

Joel Salatin once said that, “You, as a food buyer, have the distinct privilege of shaping the world your children will inherit.”  I agree! 

Every trend that starts to change the way we grow food as farmers and eat food as consumers starts with individual decisions. But choosing the right food for our families requires information. Let’s talk a bit about chickens today.  It’s a meat we can cook into a great variety of meals. As health-conscious consumers, we often look to organic cage-free poultry, but cage- free has many important differences from Pastured Poultry.


The chickenness of the chicken


Cage-free chickens are treated with many of the same quality-reducing methods found in conventional chickens as the focus is still on mass production. Chlorine baths to kill contaminates, routine injections of tenderizers and dyes to make the meat more visually appealing in a store, and no access to fresh greens or bugs that are a part of a chicken’s natural diet. These methods result in high saturated fat content and an overall poor, flat taste.


When a chicken has access to fresh living greens, is fed non-GMO grain, and processed humanely, it has a profound effect on flavor and nutrition. Pastured Poultry is raised to contain Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for child brain development and mental health and stability.  Intensely farmed chickens are devoid of this powerful ingredient.


The effect of a humane environment


The love of a farmer, extends past their family’s health to that of their animals. Humane treatment is not just to create great tasting food, it’s part of a worldview that seeks ethical farming practices and takes seriously our role of stewards of the earth and its animals.

Pastured Poultry are raised with fresh air and sunshine and lots of exercise, resulting in a low stress environment that helps them develop fully.  At McKerracher Family Farm, we raise our poultry in mobile shelters that we move daily to provide access to fresh pasture, unpolluted air and protection.

Even if chickens are cage free, that does not mean they are able to roam in a natural habitat. Although not in cages, most are still kept in cramped, stressful and artificial environments where fecal dust and lack of air and sunshine have significant effects on their quality and on the “chickenness” of their lives.


We encourage you to look further into the information differentiating conventional and cage-free poultry from Pastured Poultry. The more we learned, the more dedicated we became to providing healthy food for our family and neighbors and good lives for our animals.


To learn more about McKerracher Family Farm’s Pastured Poultry, click here.