We are very fortunate to have a selection of Sommerlad Heritage breeders (a specific Australian breed that only a handful of farms have access to). We collect their eggs daily and hatch out chicks fortnightly. It is important to us to have total control of the process from the beginning to the end, meaning the chickens do not need to leave the property until they are ready for your dinner table. This allows us to ensure they are always well looked after, as their welfare is incredibly important to us.
Once they have hatched we familiarise them to the brood/shelter, making sure they know where their water and feed is. They are kept warm and cozy until they are old enough to forage outside with the adult chickens. Each batch of chicks has its own shelter, with a brooding space in one end, which is then opened up for them to freely roam in and out of. Brooding the chicks in the shelter that they will have access to all their life, means no catching/transporting of young birds, this reduces the stress providing better animal welfare, not many farmers have custom-made shelters like ours.
All our chickens are then processed on farm in our purpose-built processing facility. That once again allows us complete control of the process. No chemicals or no chlorinated water is used in the processing of the chickens, the water is treated with ultra- violet light, chemical free. The birds are air chilled for 24 hours before packaging, no access water in the bags.
It is very rare for all the different steps of raising meat bird chickens to be carried out all on the same farm like we do.