To finish up this educational series originally posted in the Market at Dothan Newsletter, today we’re going to talk about “cage free.”
When you hear those words the thought that may come to mind is one of birds who are living their best life. You know outiside, cage free, and happy.
FACT: “Cage free” does not mean outside access. A label can read “cage free” and simply mean that birds are housed with many other birds in the same space.
You know those thousands of birds we spoke to you about before? They may have access to nesting boxes and even roosting bars, but all be crammed up and live in terrible conditions.
Many farms use cages and other methods for their birds all while allowing the birds to live naturally.
On our farm we use a variety of methods. From complete outside access, to mini coops, hoop houses, and others. What’s important to us is their safety, that they get to be birds the way God intended, and that their quality of life is preserved.
For our meat birds that are ready for harvest, we move them to a caged holding area. This is complete outside access and allows them to still excercise their natural instincts.
The above picture is one of our hoop houses as a work in progress. We use these to move our meat birds to fresh grass, house broody mama chickens, breeder pens, quarantine new flock members, and also to allow baby poults and chicks who aren’t quite ready to be outside permanently safe outdoor access.
This series applies to ALL growers and producers. Whether you’re a grocery store, farmers market, or a direct farm. As consumers and people who grow and eat these birds and their eggs giving them the best quality of life means that we practice and support a clean, safe, and natural environment. Not just for our animals, but for those that we purchase from others. If this matters to you, then this education is important.
For example, now is the time of year when local farmers, us included have little to no eggs. So as we branch out to get our eggs from elsewhere, please read the label carefully, ask questions if possible, and choose wisely,
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found it to be informative and educational. If you have questions or would like more information, we would love to hear from you.