raising chickens for meat

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we read this piece from nick kristof yesterday and nodded our heads in agreement- there absolutely is no need for any suffering of any animal, especially the ones we raise for food. if anything, the animals that sustain our bodies should be appreciated and revered for their life’s purpose and for sacrifice they make for us. their life gives us life. that is our primary goal as chicken farmers at lakestone.

the chickens we raise for meat from hatchlings are bred and born for the specific purpose to be food for us and others. our goal is to give them the best life possible during their natural lifespan- they stay cozy, warm and protected as chicks in our brooder trailer for two weeks, and then, when they are old enough, live the rest of their lives outside on certified organic grass pasture in pens that are custom built to give them plenty of room to run, but also be protected from predators and the weather. we move their pens to fresh pasture every morning where they eat bugs and grass and certified organic feed from Lakeview Organic Grain. their feces fertilize the pasture they are on, which inputs valuable nitrogen and more than ten other essential naturally made plant nutrients back into our soil, then used the following year for our vegetables. their lives truly go above and beyond what most chickens are able to offer with regard to meaning and purpose.

when it comes towards the end of their natural life, we slaughter them in a way that is quick and humane for them, as well as safe for our employees. we have never had an instance in three years where anyone involved in the process wasn’t aware and respectful of the life that had ended for all of our benefit. in fact, discussions on the meaning of life tend to come up around the processing table- and the meaning of death, and our attachment to viewing death as a failure, versus as a natural result of a life well lived. it inspired our friend matt kelly to write an insightful piece about a good death in the last issue of Post Magazine.

our chickens are good animals that serve their life’s purpose well, and we appreciate them for it. we appreciate that we can then use nearly every part of their bodies to sustain our farm- through compost and through sale, and ourselves- every piece of them that can be used for consumption, is. their lives allow us to pay our employees- all local, hard working members of our community to support themselves and their own families. their lives allow us to offer our clients local, healthy, clean food in a way that most Americans don’t have access to anymore. we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.


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