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)Most of our customers get their chickens as “whole birds”, but the butcher can cut them up for you for an extra fee. When they cut them up, they put all the pieces from one bird into one bag, so if you choose to go this route, I strongly suggest making sure that you will be able to pick them up BEFORE we freeze them. That way you can repackage the pieces individually or in small packages that are more user friendly. Personally,I wrap each piece separately so that I can easily grab the exact number and types of cuts that I want.  It makes for a long day of chicken wrapping, but it sure is worth it later on.

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.  Also I deliver to Portland on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, so if you are in Portland or anywhere along the way between our house and Portland I can drop them off for you.  Or lastly, you are welcome to come directly to the farm to pick up your birds. This is the best method if you want your chickens fresh rather then frozen. Some folks like to do their own cutting up, some folks like to repackage those already cut up chickens and some folks just like to take a trip to the farm. It’s all good. Depending on the butcher date, we may be able to bring fresh (not frozen) birds to the markets for pick up.  That option will vary by butcher date. 

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.   

Pre-ordered Chicken , whole ~ TBA

Whole Chicken , not reserved ~ TBA

Pre-ordered Chicken , cut up ~ TBA  (cut up chickens are ONLY available by pre-order)

All chickens have the necks included in the package. Giblets (heart, liver, gizzards) are no longer packaged with the whole birds, but are available separately.

Feet are packaged and sold separately.

 

CHICKEN BUTCHER DATES:

2017 Dates Still To Be Determined

Please email us at info@heritagefarmsnw.com to reserve your birds. Or, if phone calls are your preferred method of communication, that works too. (503)606-9883 . Be sure to leave a message because most of the time we are outside working.

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. 

2017 Turkey Pricing – TBA (fair warning. our butcher costs have more then doubled from the 2016 rate. UGH) - $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 100 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

It’s been brought to my attention that I left out a few details about the poultry. First off, that deposit. Checks are a wonderful thing and we are happy to take them.  Please indicate butcher date (when they are posted  and # of chickens wanted along with your check. You can mail a check to :

Heritage Farms Northwest 5585 Liberty Rd. Dallas, OR 97338

Or, if you really want to, we can take payment by credit card, via secure server. We’ll need your email address so we can get you an invoice. 

Secondly  about the processing. We do not process the birds ourselves. Somehow there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all, so we have chosen to “farm” some things out (so to speak). We take our chickens and  turkeys to a local ODA licensed processor in Willamina (about 20 minutes away).  They are very small and do only one customer’s birds at a time. They do not use bleach water to rinse the birds; just good clean, fresh water that is changed out multiple times while the birds are cooling.  The birds are packaged in a heavy duty, heat shrink freezer bag. (wow, that was a mouthful!). These bags are awesome at helping maintain quality while in the freezer.In 2015, our Thanksgiving turkey was actually from the 2014 flock.  The taste, texture and quality was perfect. No one knew it was a year old bird!!