Pastured Poultry

Pastured Poultry: The secret to the best poultry in the country begins with understanding how we raise our birds.  Our laying hens, broilers, and turkeys are all raised on lush green pastures of mixed grasses, clovers, legumes, and forbs, including wild native plants and herbs.  Two to three times each day we move our birds to fresh pasture to graze.  We provide them with a special formula of certified organic, non-GMO, soy-free grains, along with kelp, trace minerals, coral calcium, and probiotics to give them the best nutrition possible.  We do NOT vaccinate or use medicated (antibiotics) feeds – ever.  We do NOT feed arsenic or color dyes to our birds, nor are they de-beaked, even though all of these have been industry standard practices for years.  Our birds are never housed in cages or on concrete.  Fresh air, water, grass, sunshine, shade, protection from predators, and ample room to graze, are part of the daily life experience for all our birds.

We treat all of our animals with care and respect, because we truly appreciate their role as co-workers in our food production team.  We handle our birds gently, interacting and conversing with them (we know how to “talk turkey”) on a daily basis, as you will see and hear when you visit our farm.  Watching them, you’ll see that they are healthy, happy, contented, and productive members of our farm society.

Our Psalm 23 pastures have never been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic chemicals.  We use organic foliar sprays including sea minerals, kelp, raw milk, and beneficial soil bacteria to improve the mineral content, brix, soil web, and overall soil fertility.

Pastured Eggs:    Shepherd’s Valley produces what many say are the best eggs in the Midwest.  Our laying hens turn golden sunshine into beautiful brown eggs that keep our customers coming back for more.  Customers will tell you that after eating Shepherd’s Valley eggs, it’s a sin/crime/shame to buy those supermarket substitutes.  For those who are of the opinion “an egg is just an egg” – we dare you to compare.  Chefs, bakers, and breakfast eaters can sure tell the difference.  You will too!

Our layer flocks consist of the old American standard breeds including Plymouth Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, New Hampshire Reds, and others.  These beautiful hens supply us with medium and large brown eggs of superior taste and exceedingly high nutritional quality.  Our Americauna hens lay aqua blue to light green colored eggs, and you will generally find one in almost every dozen eggs we sell.

For information on how to purchase Shepherd’s Valley incredibly nutritious, palate-pleasing eggs, click Egg Shares.

Pastured Broilers: Meat chickens are raised during the spring season only.  We do not raise broilers during summer or winter due to temperature extremes that increase stress on the birds.  Broilers are moved from the brooders out to pasture by their third week of life, and moved 2-3 times each day onto fresh pasture.  These daily moves insure high rates of ingestion of green grasses, clovers, legumes, and forbs – resulting in healthy, flavorful meat that is high in CLA and Omega-3’s.  The certified organic grains and vitamin/mineral supplements that we feed, along with our special TLC, combine to make all our birds not only pastured poultry, but beyond organic as well.

These broilers are tender, meaty, healthy, and delicious.  When cooked, these birds produce a rich, sparkling, transparent golden broth that is absolutely heavenly.  Customers are often amazed at the huge difference between our birds and supermarket birds, and routinely remark on how much better flavored our birds are than any chicken they have ever tasted.

Our broilers are processed while young and tender, and reach average dressed weights typically averaging 4.5-6.5 lbs.  The majority of our birds are processed “whole,” but we do allow some special orders of individual cuts.  Giblets are NOT included, unless specifically requested by the customer.  The birds are weighed, packaged, labeled, and frozen.  Customers are notified when their birds are ready for pickup.

The current price is $4.70/lb. (dressed weight) for broilers.  There is a $7.00/bird reserve, with the remainder due at pickup.   Prices are subject to change.

Pastured Turkeys:                Shepherd’s Valley raises a limited number of turkeys for the Thanksgiving season, including broad-breasted Bronze and Bourbon Red.   These beautiful birds, like all our poultry, are raised on lush green pastures and fed with certified organic grains and trace mineral supplements.  Again, there are no vaccinations, medicated feeds, or antibiotics ever used.  Turkeys will range in size from 9-16 lbs. (dressed weights) for heritage breeds like the Bourbon Red, and 17-24 lbs. for the broad-breasted Bronze birds.  Heritage breed turkeys take 10 weeks longer to raise, have proportionately more dark meat than the broad-breasted Bronze, and have a richer flavor and texture.  Our customers really rave about the taste of these birds!

The New York Times conducted a nationwide chefs’ poll on Thanksgiving turkeys.  Their conclusion was that the Bourbon Red was far and away the best tasting turkey breed in America.  Well-recognized familiar brands were at the bottom of the list, noted as “typically bland and tasteless” in comparison.  If you want a memorable feast with family, we invite you to purchase a Shepherd’s Valley turkey.  You’ll be amazed at the difference an organic, pastured bird tastes.  Those who partake at your table will wonder where you obtained such a delicious bird.  We get long letters of praise from appreciative customers about our turkeys.

Broad-breasted Bronze turkeys are currently priced at $5.50/lb. and Bourbon Red heritage turkeys are $7.50/lb.  Turkeys are processed whole with giblets included in a separate bag placed inside the carcass. The birds are weighed, packaged, labeled, and frozen.  A $35 deposit per bird is required to reserve your turkey(s), with the remainder due at pickup.  There is very high demand for these birds.  We typically sell out every season, generally well before Thanksgiving.  Word-of-mouth from satisfied customers has been our best form of advertising.

Stewing Hens:            If you remember grandma’s chicken and dumplings or homemade chicken and noodles, then you’ll really appreciate the taste of our stewing hens.  Stewing hens are layers that have completed at least three egg-laying cycles, and have now significantly decreased their egg production capability.  These dual-purpose breed birds now provide meat for those special recipes, stews, soups, and sparkling golden broth.  Stewing hens weigh approximately 4-5 lbs. dressed, and are currently priced at $12.50 each, processed whole, packaged, and frozen.  Stewing hens should be cooked at a lower heat and slowly, then pick the meat piece-meal off the bones.  Stewing hens are usually available only once each season during late fall and winter.

Livers, Hearts & Gizzards:                 You may request chicken livers, hearts, and/or gizzards when you order broilers, and they will be packaged separately and included with your bird(s) at no extra charge.  Livers and gizzards may also be purchased separately.  Fishermen know that catfish go “hog-wild” over chicken livers.  If you want to catch the big ones, chicken livers are premium bait.  Livers are sold as fish bait for $3.50/lb.  Cleaned, packaged, and frozen gizzards are also priced at $3.50/lb.

Chicken Feet:          Gourmet chefs and traditional cooks know the nutritional value of chicken feet for making soup stock.  If you are an avid reader of Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions book, you’ll appreciate her expertise in lots of wholesome and healthful recipes for using golden broth made from chicken feet, bones, and backs.  We sell chicken feet for $2.50/lb.  Chicken feet also make great dog food treats that provide calcium, bones, and cartilage for healthy teeth and gums.  Our dog loves them, and we refer to them as “footsicles.”  We sell them frozen in 1 lb. and 2 lb. packages.

Feathers:            We sell select quality turkey feathers for craft projects, home décor, Native American dress, historical re-enactments, fly-tying, taxidermy, quill pens, and traditional archery arrows.  Prices vary depending upon color, length, quantity, and grade.