Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Turkeys and Chickens

We have been going crazy trying to figure out how to offer our customers chicken and turkey.  The challenge has been that we can't find anybody to process them for us.  We have finally decided that we will just have to process them ourselves.  We don't want to be butchers, we are very content being farmers.  However, we don't see any other way right now.  Assuming we can get all the USDA certifications and other hoop jumping out of the way we are prepared to try a very limited amount of turkeys and chickens.  We will process all the chickens at one time probably in June/July and all of the turkeys at once right before Thanksgiving.  These birds will be raised the right way, on pasture with wholesome grains, naturally without any growth promoters or antibiotics, and they will be treated humanely of course.  All of our animals are pampered like pets and given the best treatment we can provide.  They are stress free and very happy!

We will raise non commercial heritage breed turkeys and probably start with 100 or so.  We anticipate we will be able to sell them for $4.00/lb.  This is far cheaper than other farms we have seen.  As we have stated before, our goal is to make wholesome, clean, yummy food affordable for as many families as possible.  Heritage breeds grow slower than the commercial breeds and take more feed to raise as well.  They are more expensive to purchase as chicks because they are not as common.  Also our farming methods are sustainable and more labor intensive than factory lots like the ones you see in Moroni, UT.  We will also be setting up our own processing station and purchasing all of the equipment necessary.  We really don't anticipate making a profit our first year and will try this as an experiment.  The heritage breed turkeys offer a whole new world of flavor.  When you combine this with our sustainable farming practices and premium feed, it truely offers a mouthwatering, gourmet meal for your family. 

We will also start small with the chickens with 400-500.  We are unsure of which breeds to use.  We have a great source for Poulet Rouge type chickens which are traditional breeds raised on pasture.  Poulet Rouge is a label placed on chickens that are raised on pasture and allowed to grow to the age of 11 weeks+.  These chickens are the not the heavy breasted chickens most people are used to which is why we are a little reluctant to start with them.  Any type of pasture raised poultry has firmer, denser, leaner meat that is similar to turkey in texture.  This is because the chickens actually get to run around and be chickens!  The commercial chickens are raised in such confinement that in most cases they can't even stretch their wings. The non Cornish X chickens have longer lighter breasts and longer legs.  We will most likely try to raise both varieties since we are in the experiment phase and see what our customers prefer.  In crunching the numbers, we will most likely be priced at $3.00/ lb for pasture raised Cornish X (heavy breasted) and $3.50/lb for the Poulet Rouge chickens.

This past year we raised 35 of our own chickens.  The meat is the most flavorful chicken I have ever tasted!  The texture is out of this world!  In addition to eating this delicious food, it is also more nutritious than factory raised chicken and without the chemicals and drugs!  It also feels good to not support the factories that produce meat that comes from animals that in our opinion are tortured.  Did you know in many beef, pork, and poultry factories that wastes like chicken manure, processing extras (guts) and all kinds of bizarre and disgusting things get cooked and fed back to the animals?  It's no wonder that the animals need a constant supply of antibiotics to stay alive.  Nor is it any wonder that we have all of the food recalls and health problems.  I would be willing to bet that if as a country we ate wholesome, local, natural food raised sustainably that a large portion of our health problems would go away.  It sure makes a lot more sense than spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on health care reform.  Let's fix the problem at the source and stop trying to put a bandaid on it.  I'll step down from my soap box. : )   

We actually have 5 turkeys this year that we are selling for Thanksgiving.  They are pasture raised, humanely treated and all natural.  These will be harvested the day before Thanksgiving and be sold fresh not frozen.  They are $4.00/lb.  We can meet you in SLC on Wednesday evening to deliver them.  Since we only have 5 available, you will need to call quick to get one in time.  They will be processed at a facility in Tremonton as part of this year's 4H projects.  We expect them to dress out at 15-25 lbs.  Please call with any questions.

Based on the information above, we would like to know how many people are interested in buying pasture raised chicken and turkey from us.  How many birds do you think you would buy at one time knowing they were only available once a year?  How many a year would you buy if they were availble 2-3 times a year?  Any feedback you can offer us will be helpful in determining how much money we can justify investing and how many birds to buy.  Also, if anybody is interested in a business opportunity and would like to set up a small processing facility we can send A LOT of business your way.  This would allow us to raise more chickens and turkeys as well as offer them at a lower price.  If you are interested in this, call us and we can go over more detail.  Thanks again for all of your support of our local, family farm and loyalty!


oldfowlman said...

Hi Christian:
Paul Smith here from Afton Wy. I enjoy your blog and as usual am just a bit envious of your well done site. I raise the Berkshires as you know, and also raise pastured poultry, both chickens and turkeys. What a lot of work and equipment. We have reached our point of too much this year. I bought 950 cornish x chicks in three batches and 50 Broad breasted white turkeys. That's a lot of work to process them. The raising is easy, and the selling is pretty simple. The demand is ever increasing. There is no doubt you will be able to sell them. Denise and I can process 48 chickens in about 4 hrs, not counting packaging and labeling, and clean up. We have a faily good set up, about 8000 invested. You don't need USDA inspection unless you exceed the state's limit,or wish to sell to a retail outlet, which varies from 1000 to 10000 birds. Just thought that might help with your thinking.

Stefanie B. from Mona said...

I have searched and searched to find someone close to my home that does what you are doing! I live in Mona, and you think it wouldn't be that difficult to find local food, but I also want to know it is clean and treated humanely. My husband and I would MOST definetly support what you are doing...and I am passsing your blog on to a few of my friends who are educated in some of the terrible ways our food comes to our tables...

plc said...

Go for it Please!!!!!.... I have almost stopped eating chicken because of the way we breed and raise meat birds in this country.

I would buy 24 chickens (at least) that's only 2/month. I am sure I would be happy with the smaller breasted, bigger legged birds. Keep up the good work

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...

Wow! Our email just lit up! Thanks Paul for the information as well as our phone conversation. We look forward to meeting you in person.

Stephanie and PLC thank you for your comments as well. As a small family farm, resources are limited and it gives us great hope and encouragement to hear from such enthusiastic future customers. We also appreciate you spreading the word about us. Keeping the business coming in keeps us going and allows us to expand into other products.

allison said...

I would be so excited to support your venture into locally raised, humanely treated chickens, turkeys and beef. I just have a family of 4 so I would probably only be able to buy 24-30 chickens a year but I would be really happy to assist you in spreading the word. This is the change we need to see in our food system and I know a lot of people feel this way. Keep me posted!
Thanks so much and I can't wait for my pork!

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...

Allison thanks for your response. We have also heard from several other customers. So far 2 chickens/month or 24/year seems to be the average. I am not sure how many customers we have but if only 100 of our customers ordered 24 chickens a year that would be 2400 chickens!

ann stoddard said...


This may not be enough to concern yourself with, but we would take probably 1 whole chicken/month or 12/year, at least to start.

When you start beef production, we would probably purchase 1/8 - 1/4 at a time.

BTW, when I tell people how little I spend at the grocery store, they just give me blank look. I tell them I have my own farmers, and there is no comparison for the taste and value.

Oh, and I got my freezer! Just as you recommended it is a chest model, lockable, with a light, sliding baskets so nothing is lost, and my preference: frost free!


Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...

Ann, thanks for providing this info, I am glad that you found a freezer that works for you. Maybe I will post on the blog some info about freezers for our customers.

Also, we will deliver the chickens like we do the pork. We will just set up a delivery point and time and then meet everybody. Whether a customer wants to buy 1 chicken or 50 it won't matter. We will need to put enough orders together to justify the fuel and time however.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I live in SLC and I would be really eager to purchase chicken and turkey meat from you! Please let me know how/when/where.

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...


We are hoping to offer chicken and next spring/summer with turkey in the fall. Please email us your contact information so that we can keep you posted, or just follow our blog.

heidiaqua said...

I live in SLC too and would love to buy chkn and turkey local!!! PLEASE.
Heidi Lewis

Stefanie Bryant - Mona said...

Just wanted to leave a note on how WONDRFUL our Thanksgiving turkey was! The meat was so lean - yet we had great drippings to make gravy with. The dark meat was so dark it reminded me of the wild turkey we have ate. We didn't let any go to waste, we made stock and soup witht he carcass and got every bit of goodness out of that wonderful bird!

We love what you are doing and I am excited to see all the new information on your blog - and all the comments!

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...


I have to agree with you on the turkey. We just enjoyed the best tasting, most moist and tender turkey we have ever tasted! We and our 22 guests were very happy with how these turkeys turned out. Thanks for your support! Keep spreading the word!

Alice said...

I'd be interested in at least 24 chickens a year also.

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...

Alice - thanks for the feedback. Because of the strong support and feedback we are going to try to offer chicken every month or at least every other month May-Nov next year. Hopefully in turn this will make it easier for families as they won't have to make a bulk buy once a year. We couldn't have justified this if we didn't have the feedback. Thank you to all of our customers who have responded!

Kendra Meyers said...

Hey there. I am thrilled to see what you guys are doing and am amazed at your reasonable prices for grass-fed beef. I currently buy grass-fed beef at Real Foods Market in Orem, but your prices are much lower, so I'll probably start buying beef from you guys. I will need a freezer to store the beef and noticed your comments above. Do you have any recommendations on freezers???

Christiansen's Hog Heaven said...

Kendra, I should probably blog about freezers sometime. I recommend getting an energy star rated model as there is a significant savings on the cost to run an energy star model. Chest freezers are more efficient than uprights in energy and in space utilization. However it is easier to manage food in an upright and you are less likely to have food that find three years later when you finally get around to cleaning out the freezer. : ) Also make sure you get a lock to keep kids out and to prevent from accidentally leaving the door ajar. I also recommend and interior light as well as an external power indicator light. I don't really have a recommendation of frost less vs. manual defrost. If you can afford the frost less they are nice. Home Depot, Lowes, Costco,and Sears have the best prices. We recently bought a bunch of Electrolux freezers from Boyle Appliances in Ogden. They had a screaming deal on them and may get more in. Feel free to email or call with any other questions.