Our poultry program has been the staple of Primal Pastures since 2012, and something we're incredibly proud of. We offer chicken both for eggs and meat, and will detail both below. However, there are several things that are exactly the same across both programs.
1. Pasture Raised
For Primal Pastures, this means constant movement to fresh pasture, not just "access" to pasture. All of our coops are mobile, giving the birds all-you-can-eat grasses, bugs, worms, flowers and weeds.
2. Certified Organic, Corn and Soy Free Feed.
We've never wavered on this standard for our egg layers or meat birds. Corn and Soybeans are the two largest industrial monocrop systems out there, representing more than 99.9% of American chicken feed by volume. We are one of (if not the only) poultry company with a commitment to 100% organic, corn and soy free chicken.
3. No vaccines, antibiotics, or drugs.
Again, extremely rare in the industry representing less than 0.001% of chickens available in the USA. Common poultry vaccines include: Marek's, Newcastle, Infectious Bronchitis, Infectious Bursal, Fowl Pox, and more. The vast majority of American antibiotics are used on livestock. We believe there is a better way. By raising animals outside, on fresh pasture, with a clean diet, sunshine, and clean well water, we eliminate the need for synthetic inputs.
Our Egg Program:
We raise laying hens on our 30 Acre Regenerative Organic U-Pick farm in Murrieta, CA. They not only help with organically fertilizing our fields, but also with pest management. Our legendary eggs are available for farm pickup only at this time.
Our Meat Bird Program:
Our meat birds are raised in Michigan by long time trusted partner and friend, Joe Koopsen of Joe's Farm.
Although we raised meat birds on our home farms for 7 years, we have run into serious zoning and processing issues that led us to start working with Joe. Like all of our suppliers, we have a very close relationship and have visited the farm on multiple occasions.
To tell you about Joe's Farm, we asked Farmer Austin to write a piece about his history, relationship, and a recent visit to the farm.
"Joe’s Farm is a bitter-sweet story for me, bitter in the sense that Primal was having to let someone else raise our chicken, which is our flagship product, and dear to our hearts, but sweet because we were able to put it in the trusted hands of Farmer Joe, someone I believe to be a man of integrity and an extremely hard worker. Like most things with Primal Pastures, it is undeniable that the hand of God is upon us, and in this case, that hand guided us to Joe Koopson, from Joe’s Farm.
I didn’t know we were going to need Joe when I was first introduced to him at one of our yearly visits to APPPA ( American Pastured Poultry Producers Association). Truthfully, when I first met him, I was thinking, who is this kid? He doesn’t even look old enough to be here, let alone have a farming operation. So we chatted a little and he told us how he started as a first-generation farmer at 15 years old selling chicken to friends and family and eventually selling to a local hospital, (which I hope is the future hospitals, feeding nutritionally dense food to their patients, fingers crossed on that one) and then Joe graduated by finally breaking into the pastured egg business.
After that, I thought I probably wouldn’t see Joe until the next conference, but I was wrong. Months later, Primal found out the land they were leasing and had been farming for the last 6 years was being sold quickly and we would have no place to continue our operation. A few months later, I was getting off of a plane at 12:30 am in Michigan and Farmer Joe, who was more than willing, was there to pick us up and drive us two and a half hours to his farm- funny how all these hidden gem farms are 2-3 hours from any airport.
We woke up the next morning to a picturesque setting; green, tall trees lining the pastures, a giant red barn, a classic looking farmhouse and clear blue skies. Joe greeted us and then the farm tour, along with chores began. The first stop, was the brooder that housed thousands of our unvaccinated chickens being kept warm by propane heaters and watered by a nipple line connected to their well water. Later, we moved on to fill feed buckets with one of the farm hands, who happily let us help.
The feed was amazing. It was from a company called New Country Organics. It boasted of nutrition but had no soy or corn and this was a couple of years ago. Now our feed has gone to soy-free, corn-free, low PUFA’s subbing seed oils with olive oil. It is literally the cleanest feed on the market and only being used by Primal Pastures, sorry had to tout that for a second!
We took a ride around the corner, down a narrow road that opened up to a ten-acre parcel where four MRCs (mobile range coop) were spread out across the green pasture housing Primal Pastures chicken. Joe pulled the coops with a large green John Deere tractor (insert country song here) as he does every day! And as he did, the amount of grasshoppers jumping was alarming for those who fear them, but also comforting at the same time, knowing that these chickens were about to get a giant boost of bug protein. This movement will also get them up and moving, generating more blood flow, and with more blood flow to the body comes more flavor. Yum!
We spent some time in the pasture looking at the regeneration of the land that was taking place, using the Salatin-style method of raising birds. There is nothing better than seeing how rich the new blades of grass look after the birds do their thing (poop emoji).
Joe then took us around to see his layer operation, heard of cattle and shared some spots on the farm that were dear to his heart, like the original barn from the early 1900’s that they host weddings in and the large, grassy hill where they make a huge water slide for the kids in the summer.
To finish out the day, we ate lunch under some large, shady trees and talked about future possibilities, like raising a corn-free soy, free organic turkey, which had not been done yet, due to soy being a complete protein and turkeys needing that in there early stages of life to grow correctly. However, if you have followed us in recent years you would know that that was a very productive conversation because we were able to successfully do that in 2022.
All in all, we were very impressed with Joe’s operation and the level of experience he demonstrated, especially as a young, first-generation farmer.
More than his knowledge or skills as a farmer, Joe’s integrity is so meaningful to us at Primal Pastures.
Being so far away from Joe and not having eyes on our operation it would be so easy to order vaccinated chicks instead of unvaccinated, use the wrong feed or not pull the MRC daily. So make sure you know your farmer, trust your farmer and find a farmer with integrity and a good heart, aka Farmer Joe!!!"
- Farmer Austin