Producing great local food through a collaborative effort between Westley Farm, Jackson's Folly Farm, and Friends of the Bryn Athyn Farm!

 

             This year I have become a board member of a new group of dedicated farmers and educators called Friends of the Bryn Athyn Farm or FOTF, for short. FOTF is a non profit organization dedicated to the formation of an educational farm.  To learn more about FOTF check out our website here

 

             I have found a source of certified GMO-free feed, and I am using a new ration that will help keep the chickens healthier than ever.  Of course, the chlorophyll they get from eating grass acts as a natural purifier for them. Sunshine, room to move, and all the other natural chicken food they obtain on the field also helps keep them healthy. My chickens are treated humanely and allowed to do what chickens do naturally while being kept safe from predation. See the website for more details on how my chickens are raised. This season all chicken will come vacuum packed to help preserve freshness. So clear some space in your freezer!

 

             Jon Caldwell is joining the fun of raising chickens and will be working along side me all season.  It is so nice to have a young man with enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for producing and preparing healthy clean food.

 

As was the case last season, we will be integrating sheep into the farming ecosystem.  The sheep are from Jackson's Folly Farm.  Grazers (sheep, in this case) integrate symbiotically with poultry. Grazers eat the grass down providing an open space for the chickens to forage.  Also, the low grass helps the nitrogen and other nutrients produced by the chickens to quickly enter the soil instead of being trapped on top of ‘flattened’ grass. The tender shoots that come back after sheep graze are perfect for chicken consumption. In turn, nitrogen and nutrients produced by the chickens stimulate rich green grass growth that feeds the sheep. Chickens also provide cleanup duty for intestinal parasites that are a common problem for ruminant animals in the mid-Atlantic.  By having the chickens follow behind the sheep, parasites are consumed in their larval stage.  In addition to providing food for the local community, the chickens and sheep will perform the services of further enriching the soil in a symbiotic relationship.

 

Similar to last season, Greg Jackson (of Jackson's Folly Farm fame) and I are collaborating to pasture raise turkeys for Thanksgiving. The cost for turkeys will be $4.50 per pound.  Turkeys can be pre-ordered by clicking on the 'order form' link at the top of the page.

 

If you are intersted in helping out or just learning more about what we do, feel free to shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Picture of A new chicken shelter. Ready for the chickens after the sheep have eaten down the grass

 chickens and sheep

 

Westley Farm and the Bryn Athyn College are once again collaborating to produce fresh, all natural chicken. We raise chickens on the pasture where, in addition to natural ration of grain, they eat fresh grass, insect and all the other things chickens naturally eat. The pasturing method results in a more nutritious and delicious chicken.

            Last year we produced nearly 500 chickens –about 2,250 lbs of healthy sustainable chicken. I use ‘we’ because I had loads of help from many people and every customer is part of the process. Everyone involved is supporting a local and environmentally sustainable food source, something I find very important. I was truly amazed how many people wanted to see, know and experience how pastured poultry is produced. If you want to know more about the process or participate even more in the process, I encourage and welcome you to do so. Just contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). There are so many ways you can help. I just love raising sustainable food. I feel we share this love together. Some of the more labor intensive parts of the process are not captured in the pastoral pictures I have sent to you, but just knowing we are providing healthy food makes it a true labor of love.

 This year we will be providing only Cornish Cross. Last year we raised mostly Red Rangers. I found that more people preferred the meatier Cornish over the Red Rangers. The price this year will remain $4 per pound. The average weight per chicken will be between 4-5 pounds that translates to between $16-$20 per chicken.

Address: 3022 Cairnwood Dr, Bryn Athyn, PA   19009

 

 

MapDirections
Coming from:

Over the years, I have become increasingly aware of health and environmental issues that exist with the established methods for raising and bringing chickens to market. These problems affect the consumer, the environment and are extremely inhumane to the chickens. My goal is to provide an alternative approach.

Chicken found in most grocery stores are raised in ‘grow houses’ where chickens never see natural light, where everything including the chicken’s skin, respiratory tract, and eyes are covered with fecal dust, where fecal-ammonia in the litter causes burns on the chicken’s feet, legs and breast, and where the lack of space (about half a square footper bird) for movement and exercise causes leg damage. These chickens are processed in commercial processing plants and require multiple chlorine baths to sanitize the carcasses after they are splashed with feces during processing. The pastured poultry method processes chicken right on the farm using humane and clean methods –no fecal contamination and no chlorine baths.

            The pastured poultry method involves the ingenious use of light-weight, mobile chicken shelters that are moved to fresh pasture daily to provide fresh green food for the chickens. The shelter has a semi-enclosed area to protect the chickens from the weather and an open area to provide the chickens with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. The shelters allow room for the chickens to move and forage for fresh green plant material, insects, seeds, grubs, worms and grit. It is this natural, forage-obtained diet that keeps the chickens healthy and produces a delicious, nutrient-rich bird. This is an ecologically sustainable method for raising healthier, cleaner, leaner, and more nutritious chicken.

What does ecologically sustainable mean? It means that chicken waste is deposited right into the pasture in quantities that can be naturally accommodated, providing natural fertilizer for the grass. It means that waste from processing of chickens can be composted and once entirely broken down, can be used to fortify and improve soil for grain, hay, fruit or vegetable production. It means that waste from chicken production is not dumped into the waterways after chemical sanitization.

            My goal is to raise and market pastured poultry to support a better environment and provide higher quality more nutritious chicken to consumers.

Dr. Eugene Potapov from the Bryn Athyn College built an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with GPS and camera.   He took the picture below on April 14th, 2014.  Each dark green space is where the shelter was sitting for one day during the previous season (summer and fall of 2013).  It really shows the positive impact the chickens have on the soil. This season, I will track the area occupied by the chickens via GPS.  Then over the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015, we will track plant biomass as well as soil sampling to more quantitatively measure the impact of the chickens on the flora and fauna.