Chicks arrive at the farm from the hatchery at one day old. They are provided a nice warm building upon arrival and plenty of feed and water space to get them off to a great start. Within the first two or three days they start getting acquainted with their surroundings and begin to explore every corner of their new home. They are kept in their building for the first four weeks of their lives, providing them with a controlled climate, free from temperature change and predators.
At five weeks of age the chickens are allowed access to the outdoors. At first they are hesitant to venture out into their new space, but quickly look forward to being let out each morning. By week six the most exciting part of their day is when the curtains are opened. It is usually a race to find all the delicious worms, bugs, and green grass waiting for them outside.
Weeks six and seven the birds spend some of their time inside and some outside. Generally in the mornings and evenings you will find them outside picking on grass and searching for bugs. The middle part of the day is generally spent inside the building lounging in the shade, enjoying their misters, eating and drinking. Then again in the evening they venture outside. At 53 days old the chickens are ready for butchering.
Our Producers believe that providing a high quality all natural feed source for their chickens is part of the formula to a high quality product. The chickens are fed a grain based vegetarian diet. Their feed is antibiotic and hormone free. By using quality feed and allowing access to the outdoors the chickens are healthier and the quality of the meat is second to none.
Over the past few years several new buildings have been designed and constructed on the farm. This new design provides an excellent grow space for the chickens. Part of the new design includes front and rear curtains spanning the length of the buildings allowing the chickens easy access to the outdoors. Here at Plum Creek Farms it has always been important to us that the chickens we sell have had access to the outdoors (with the exception of the coldest winter months). During the spring, summer, and fall the chickens are provided spacious pens around the grow buildings, allowing access to the outdoors at their leisure. They move freely in and out of the buildings during the day, but are generally closed up each night (predators can often be a problem). Excellent animal husbandry practices, including access to green grass and bugs are what set our chickens apart, and allow us to provide the high quality chicken that our customers expect.
HAPPY CHICKENS MAKE TASTY CHICKENS!!!
Baby chicks arrive at the farm when they are one day old. At this age they spend most of their time finding food and water and getting used to their new home.
Weeks one and two the chicks have found their food and water and are starting to grow their adult feathers.
At this age the chicks are fully feathered but are not quite ready to venture out into the outdoors.
Finally the chicks have matured into chickens and are ready to venture into the outdoors anytime the weather permits.
Weeks six and seven are mostly spent eating and enjoying the outdoors. Chickens however mostly enjoy being outdoors in the early morning and evening when the sun is not overhead.
At 53 days the chickens are ready for butchering.
At 53 days old the chickens are ready for butchering. The chickens are placed in catch crates every Sunday after dark. Butchering happens onsite at the farm in a state inspected and licensed processing facility.
Butchering begins every Monday morning at 6:00 am. The crates are brought into the building and the chickens are placed into cones. Once they are dead they are placed into the scalder and rotated for about 45 seconds to loosen all of the feathers. Next they take a spin in the plucker for 30-45 seconds until all of the feathers are removed. Then the feet are removed and trimmed, and the birds are eviscerated. Livers, and hearts are then sorted and trimmed. The lungs are removed and the birds are rinsed and hung on cooling racks (the chickens are never cooled using a water bath). The cooling racks are rolled into a large walk in cooler and the chickens hang on the cooling racks for 18-24 hours at 33°F- 35°F.
Tuesday morning the cooling racks are rolled out one by one and the chickens are weighed and sorted. Some of the chickens are packaged whole, while others are cut up and sorted into separate pieces. The pieces are then packaged, weighed, labeled and sorted into tubs according to each individual customer's order.
Wednesday morning (weather permitting) the tubs containing each customers individual order, are loaded onto our refrigerated delivery truck and are delivered directly to our customers. Its important to us to be able to develop a personal relationship with all of our customers.
View available products and order your Plum Creek Farms chicken today!