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Pasture-Raised Poultry
They're a great moneymaker for any grazing farm.

Donna Jenney and Mike Carroll think pasture is for the birds. In addition to their dairy and beef stock, the couple are also graze 400 broilers that they process and vacuum pack on their farm near Cortland, N.Y., and sell to local customers for $1.39 per pound.

The two were inspired by a '94 field trip sponsored by the South Central RC&D to visit pioneering grazier Joel Salatin, who raises beef, hogs and poultry on his farm near Swoope, Va. Salatin has perfected a low-cost system of raising broilers on pasture in portable pens, processing them on the farm and selling them directly to customers, netting about $3 profit per bird. He calculates that the return for the producers' time is about $15 per hour. Using a similar system, Salatin sells eggs to upscale restaurants for $2.40 per dozen.

When Jenney and Carroll returned home to their Nature's Way Farm, they began scouring auctions and sales to find a second-hand plucker and other equipment, built portable pens based on Salatin's design, and did a test run raising 200 broilers and 25 turkeys in '95. Encouraged by their success, they doubled their production this season, and are busy turning an old bus into a portable processing facility.

"The processing can be time-consuming, but it only takes a few minutes each day to move the pens and check the feed and water," says Jenney, who also serves as secretary for the fledgling Pastured Poultry Association of South Central New York. The group's dozen or so members raise up to 1,000 birds each, the maximum that can be processed on-farm without federal inspection, notes Jenney.

For more information, contact PPA of SoCNY, c/o SoCNY RC&D, R.D. 1, Box 20-36, Norwich, NY 13815; (607) 334-4715. Salatin's 340-page book Pastured Poultry Profits is available for $30 from The Stockman Grass Farmer: (800) 748-9808.

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Home Grazing Gear Up For Grazing Contents Pasture-Raised Poultry

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