Chickens & Turkeys

Week old chicks enjoying the “spring” weather inside the greenhouse.

It is that time of year when start thinking about the chickens and turkeys for the upcoming poultry season! As usual, we will be raising several batches of pastured chickens starting in the spring and running through fall. Generally we butcher chickens once a month from April or May through Oct. We love it when our customers reserve their birds ahead of time as this allows us to spend less time “selling” the birds and more time paying attention to the growing on the birds. It also helps to know about how many we need to order. 

Our free ranged broilers out in the orchard

Our free ranged broilers out in the orchard

We raise our birds outdoors, on pasture, NOT in chicken tractors. They are truly free ranged birds.  We use the commercial Cornish Cross breed (CC) for our free ranged chickens. When raised outdoors with plenty of exercise and grown slowly, they produce a lovely, meaty carcass and they do not experience the health problems that their commercially raised counter parts have so much trouble with. Our CC birds do great outdoors and they even go out and look for their own food! While we encourage our chickens to do some of their own foraging for food, we do feed them a home ground ration of local wheat, organic soy meal and a vitamin/mineral mix. Last year the birds grew fabulously on this blend and we heard great feedback on the flavor and quality of the meat. 

We did get our butcher dates for the chickens all scheduled. The availability dates  are listed a bit farther down the page. We only raise a relatively small number of birds at a time (75-100) so we encourage folks to get their reservations made early to avoid that dreaded phrase  of  “sorry, we are sold out”.  You can reserve your birds now for any or all of the upcoming butcher dates. You can reserve 1 chicken or 50 chickens, we’re not picky. Typically the birds weigh between 4-6 lbs each. Occasionally we have a smaller one and occasionally we have a bigger one, but mostly they are in that range.

Chicken Fryer Smaller (539x640)

In terms of getting your birds from our farm into  your freezer, there are several options for facilitating that. You can pick them up at our market table at either of the markets that we regularly attend. Currently we are at the Salem Saturday Market every week as well as the Corvallis Farmer’s Market – Saturday edition.

The Chicken Nitty Gritty Whole Chicken -    You should expect that all birds will be pre-frozen unless arrangements are made for “Fresh Pick Up”  $7 per bird deposit required to hold your preferred butcher date.   

Cornish Cross – Whole – $5.55/lb

Red Ranger – Whole – $6.55/lb

Giblets (heart, liver, gizzards) are no longer packaged with the whole birds, but are available separately.

Feet are packaged and sold separately.

 

 

Ah the turkeys!!!  As everyone knows, we have not been enthusiastic turkey raisers most years, though we have raised them, we grumbled the whole time. Last year, we hit upon what seemed to be a magic formula for ” mostly pain free turkey raising”.  We cleaned out a field and gave the entire pasture to them. They didn’t share it with anything, not the chickens not the pigs, nothing.. just them and the grass (and the grass hoppers! yum.. treats!! )  Anyway, it worked. We were happy, the turkeys were happy and most importantly the folks who ate those turkeys were happy.  With that in mind we will be doing it again!! and maybe even adding a few more birds to the mix. Last year we raised about 70 and they were all sold well before Thanksgiving. This year we think perhaps we’ll go for an even 100 and see how that works.  As with last year’s turkeys we will be butchering them early (Sept and Oct) and delivering them to you frozen so they can be in your freezer not ours (turkeys do not stack well in freezers.)  They take up way to much space when there are 100 of them, which means no room for pork! and you know about us and our pork.

The Turkey Nitty Gritty Whole Turkey –    Weights will likely be between 14 – 22 lbs, though we had a few bigger last year and  few smaller. Let us know your preferred size range and we will try to get you one that size, no guarantees though. Turkeys do not read the directions well at all and they do what they want to do. Turkeys are like that. 

2019 Turkey Pricing - $6.55/lb – $25 deposit to reserve your bird. Deposit will be applied towards final purchase price. 

TURKEY BUTCHER DATES ~ highly variable as we butcher when they get to the “Right Size”. Expect that you will get your bird frozen and well before Thanksgiving. Last year most were butchered in Oct.  We will keep turkey buyers up to date on how they are growing and when to expect them.

We only plan to raise about 60 birds, so please reserve your’s now if you want one.  Call (503)606-9883 or email info@heritagefarmsnw.com to reserve yours now. I know it seems early. But we sell out every single year, generally long before Thanksgiving time arrives. 

Oh, one more detail. The turkeys will be those lovely big, broad breasted Bronzes, we hope anyway.  Yes, they are a commercial breed, but when raised outdoors, on pasture they are great tasting with good texture and all that other stuff you want for your family’s meals and as a bonus, they have plenty of that much coveted breast meat.

 Chickens  In the Pasture