Genuine Faux Farm
GFF Chickens (Broilers)
Chickens at the Genuine Faux Farm are pasture raised during the day and they roost in the barn at night. Birds are given a base diet mixed by a local producer (Frantzen Farms) who has organic certification. Their diet is supplemented by foraging and organic produce that is no longer fit for sale or distribution. We do not hatch our own chicks, we are a 'finishing' operation only at this point. Chicks have been purchased through the JM Hatchery & Decorah Hatchery.
What it means to be Free Range (for us)
We do not keep our birds in a 'chicken tractor' during the day, instead we use a 'day range' system. They are out in a pasture with fenced borders to keep them out of our gardens and to slow down potential predators. Our meat birds are in a 'rotated' pasture that is bordered by an electric fence to keep predators out. We move the birds to a new pasture periodically to maintain the quality of the grass/clover crop for their benefit. The birds go into a shelter at night.
Chicks are an exception. To keep them warm and safe, they reside in a wooden, boxed in area with heat lamps. As they grow, we increase their space until they have some 'real' feathers. Then, they are free range.
Our meat birds are a breed that is maintained by JM Hatchery and we generally raise a mixture of Bronze, Grey and Red Rangers. These birds grow slower than the Cornish X variety that other producers favor, but we've found the taste to be markedly better. We are also impressed with their ability to handle themselves outdoors versus the relatively sedentary attitude of the Cornish X. These birds take much more advantage of the pasture given to them. We have tried black broilers and were not impressed. While we will continue to explore options, we do not feel a great need to find other breeds at this time.
Plans for 2011
We are hoping to reduce our labor and improve both the pasture quality and fence protection during the coming year. This process will require continued remodeling work on a machine shed/hog confinement building - which is now known as the Poultry Pavilion. It will also require leveling and reseeding some pasture, planting of trees/bushes for shade, acquisition of a couple of shade structures and purchase and placement of new fences and gates. This is a potentially major effort, but we hope it will result in consistent poultry quality with less frustration on our parts to achieve that quality.
Our birds are sold directly to the consumer and are first come, first served. If you wish to reserve a bird with us, please contact us via email or in writing. Do not asssume you have a reserved bird unless you receive a reply from us! At this time, we do not ask that you place a deposit with us to reserve the birds. But, we do ask that you work with us to take possession of the bird soon after processing. We ask that you pay at the point of delivery. We also ask that you honor your commitment with us so we can continue to take reservations without deposits.
Most of our chickens are processed as whole chickens. We also process younger,smaller chickens. Weight is typically between 3 lbs and 5 lbs. If you wish to have a chicken cut up into frying pieces, we can include this in our order to the processor. Price is usually $1 more than a whole chicken.
We sell our birds locally - which we are defining as (roughly) a 50 mile radius of our home. This includes areas such as Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Waverly, Sumner, Oelwein, New Hampton, etc. If you live outside this radius we won't say no if you see us at a farmers' market and we have chickens available. And, of course, friends and family have special exemptions. But, we also encourage you to find a way to locate and encourage a grower that is local to you.
Preparing Our Meat Birds
Chickens raised at the farm are leaner than those raised in confinement. If you purchase a 4 pound chicken from us, you will typically find a higher ratio of the weight is useful meat. Our processed birds are not injected with a saline solution. Because they are leaner and do not have this brine included, we recommend that you cook your birds at a slightly lower temperature for a longer period of time to maintain a tender and moist texture.
Interested in chickens in 2010? Email us to inquire. We already have a waiting list started!
The Genuine Faux Farm participated in Practical Farmers of Iowa's Cooperator Program in 2009 by participating in a broiler research project. Our spring flock consisted of 100 Freedom Rangers and 100 Black Broilers. Bird weights and food amounts were tracked and processed weights were recorded. A summary of our results follow (more detail will be placed elsewhere on our site):
Interested in chickens in 2009? Email us to inquire. We already have a waiting list started!
Interested in chickens in 2008? Email us to reserve them.
photos copyright L.E.Bartel 2005