Processing Q & A
We process under a Grant of Poultry Custom Exemption P.L. 90-492 Establishment # 1370 under the Texas Department of Health (TDH) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Q. Are the birds killed humanely?
A. We feel that the birds are killed in the most humane manner possible. The birds are placed into funnel shaped cones after being removed from their transportation crate; Large plants hang them on shackles and stun them before killing. The carotid arteries and the jugular veins are cut on both sides of the neck. Small processors usually believe that the bleed-out is more thorough with no stunning. About 35-50% of the blood comes out of stunned birds, with the rest remaining mainly in the organs. Bleeding takes about 1 minute. According to industry thought, if the bird is not stunned, the bleed-out is slower and not as complete, because the bird is struggling and its organs are using blood. Maximum drainage of blood is desirable so there won't be dark spots on the meat, especially on wing veins.
Q. Is the processing facility safe for me and my family?
A. We are a USDA and TDH Exempt P.L. 90-492 Poultry Processing Facility. This means that we meet astringent USDA food and bio safety guidelines for processing our birds. The facility is built and run according to their specifications. We even went a step further and added what we felt was necessary to give you a more safe product.
The Exempt P.L. 90-492 allows us to legally sell anywhere we want to, including retail and farmers markets.
Q. Why not have someone else process your birds?
A. The nearest processing facility (custom orders) is about 300 miles. Our goal is sustainability. Also, you and I know exactly where your chicken has been. We also want to keep the cost as low as possible for our customers and having our own processing facility is the only way. Custom processing usually cost $3.25/bird and that isn't including delivery and pick-up.
Q. What kind of chemicals do you use in your facility?
A. All soaps and disinfectants are OMRI (Organic Materials Research Institute) Certified. We use Oxi Date and vinegar for disinfecting. This means that they meet the astringent USDA requirements for organic food processing
Q. How are the broilers packaged?
A. Your broiler comes packaged in a 3 mil plastic, freezable vacuum bag. We use a commercial chamber vacuum sealer which keeps your chicken fresh longer.
Q. What do you do with the waste?
A. The only waste from processing is the offal and feathers, both of which are composted for approximately one year. After it is well composted we apply it to our pastures and gardens. The heads, feet, and gizzards are sold. Literally nothing goes to waste.
Q. Are the birds fresh or frozen?
A. We tried to have birds fresh for customers, but processing dates just never seem to go as planned and it simply wasn't worth the hassle. Chicks aren't always available on time from the hatchery, or nature dictates that the broilers will not be ready on time. Thus, we simply decided to start freezing so that broilers would be readily available for your convenience. If you want fresh poultry you may arrange a visit to the farm on a processing day to buy fresh birds.
"One cannot think well, love well, and sleep well, if one has not dined well."
- Virginia Woolf