As Bethany McDaniel puts it, the way they farm at Primal Pastures is “weird”: they move every single animal to fresh organic pasture every single day. “It’s our way of replicating and respecting nature. Taking the animals to pasture is an ancient process that gives our animals clean food, clean bedding, fresh air, and plenty of space to roam. It’s also the best chore on the farm – you can literally feel the happy energy and excitement for them to find that clover, wildflower, or grasshopper!”
We stumbled into Bethany’s family farm after learning about her natural beauty brand (read our story with her here!) and were delighted to see just how well animals really live on a regenerative farm.
Primal Pastures raises a multitude of truly pasture-raised animals and is on a mission to teach families about the connection between high animal welfare and the quality of our food. “Pasture-raised meat is actually worlds apart in terms of having a more impressive nutrient profile without the toxins that are prevalent in animals raised inside and fed an unnatural feed. Raising animals outside on grass actually helps to regenerate the planet and reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring soil biodiversity, resulting in carbon drawdown.”
Their practices around chicken caught our eye and we wanted to share this peek inside the good life chickens at this farm really lead. Here’s a glimpse inside the farm and a reminder to shop as humanely as possible for the animals, the earth and your own health…
A standard chicken raised in one of the big production houses is confined to an area the size of an oven – for its entire life. These birds may never see the light of day, never feel grass beneath their feet, never taste a bug or a worm, and never roam free in a pasture. That is just plain WRONG.
Most chickens are pumped full of grains that make them so fat that their legs are often unable to support their weight and eventually give out, breaking under the strain of this extreme load. To mitigate this, they are often injected with antibiotics that sturdy up the legs and allow them to survive to six weeks. At this point, they are processed for production, wrapped in plastic, sold to you at the grocery store, and fed to your families.
Unfortunately, organic and free range birds may not be much better off. ‘Organic’ simply means that the chickens’ feed has been certified by a government agency to contain no unnatural fertilizers or pesticides. However, the chickens may still be living their lives stacked two-high in a feed house, defecating on one another in a life of chicken misery.
Most of these big-box chickens are de-beaked, a process that involves half of the beak of each chicken being chopped off. This prevents the chickens from resorting to the cannibalism and suicide that occurs as a result of living under such cruel conditions. These behaviors aren’t difficult to imagine. Chickens are designed to peck and scratch for their entire lives. We firmly disagree with the inhumanity involved in the de-beaking process and are committed to providing healthy alternatives to this all too common practice.
What about free range? This certification has been widely abused throughout the poultry community. One might think the term should mean that the birds have room to explore, play, and forage. But this has come to mean something entirely different. Take that same feed house from the previous few paragraphs, cut a little hole in the wall, and it’s suddenly considered “free range.” Even if the feed house is surrounded by dirt and the chickens literally never go outside to act like chickens, this is considered free range because they have the “option” to explore. You may want to rethink paying the extra $5 for this “upgrade” the next time you’re at the supermarket.
So why the rant and what are we going to do about this modern day food catastrophe? Consumers are becoming more educated every single day. Many people are no longer putting up with big box chicken practice and are learning that there is an alternative. As described above, the labels and stamps such as organic and free range simply cannot be relied upon. The only way to guarantee healthy food is to know your brands and farmers, understand their inclinations and motivations, and get out to the ranch to see your food in action.
Regrettably, there simply aren’t many options here in Southern California. Premium, real food, primal chickens are almost solely imported from Northern California and beyond. We strategically started our ranch in Temecula, within one hour of Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. This serves to ensure the freshest poultry possible and puts you within a short drive of your local farm. We are committed to raising the best chickens in the world.
Watch the video above to see how Primal Pastures moves their coop to fresh pasture everyday!