In our first year at Ecotone, we raised 45 heritage Blue Slate turkeys. While it was surely a fun experience - turkeys, after all, are hilarious creatures - it was also the first dramatic lesson in transforming grain into more complex animal proteins. Not only do turkeys eat a tremendous amount of food, but for six months of hard work I made just $325 more than it cost to feed them. And so in 2010 we took a break from turkeys to focus on other aspects of the farm.
From time to time we also raise pastured broilers and ducks. Because Ecotone participates in the Animal Welfare Approved program, we do not raise the industrial Cornish Cross broiler (AKA "meat blobs"), which from hatching to slaughter take only 8 weeks to mature. While this is without a doubt the chicken you eat every time you eat chicken, their exceptionally high growth rate results in chronic leg problems, heart attacks, and heat strokes. The AWA requires all poultry raised for meat to live at least 12 weeks, and to exhibit the physical and behavioral characteristics of their species.
article from ATTRA. For more information on non-industrial broilers, have a look at S & G Poultry in Alabama or this ATTRA article on the French "Label Rouge" broiler.
In addition, in 2011 we will also raise a very small number of ducks and guineas for ourselves and anyone else interested. Beginning with the earnest onset of warm weather, C.J. is open to raising a specified number of birds for particular people at a predetermined price. Should you be interested in any poultry from Ecotone this year, please contact C.J. directly to discuss pricing and timing.