We raise chickens for two different purposes at Shady Oaks: Eggs and meat.
Our egg laying flock of 19 is comprised mostly of Dominique, a heritage breed that was one of the first chicken breeds recognized in the USA. They lay a pretty light brown egg and are excellent foragers for their own food. We also have a few Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers in the flock so we can have pretty blue and green shelled eggs to add to our dozen egg packs. Egg rainbows! Our laying hens have free range of the property to express their “chicken-ness”, get plenty of exercise, forage for most their own food and provide us a natural way to control pests. They also are little walking fertilizers! We supplement their foraged diet with organic feed and supplements. All of these elements create an extremely nutritious and tasty egg with bright orange yolks.
The breed we have chosen to raise for roast chicken is the Freedom Ranger. The Freedom Ranger is a slower growing bird than the standard store bought Cornish Cross but in our opinion the flavor is superior. It tastes like chicken x 10 and is moist and buttery. The genetics for this breed come from the French Label Rouge, which has an extremely high standard on how chickens are raised and should taste. Our birds are raised in a protected free range environment. They have a comfortable shelter to sleep in and get out of the elements and free access to the out doors to free range, eat grass and bugs and get plenty of fresh air. We protect them with a large paddock of electric netting to keep out predators. We move their “homes” daily to ensure a fresh and clean living environment. Their diet is also supplemented with free choice organic feed and supplements. We want our food to live the best lives they can.