ELGIN FREE RANGE CHICKENS ARE:
Our chickens are truly free range. Unlike commercial chicken they are not kept indoors in environmentally controlled houses throughout the duration of their lives. After hatching, we keep them indoors for about two weeks – as in nature, they need protection as chicks and they usually spend this time under their mother’s wing. They are then given the opportunity to experience the outdoors, and are allowed to move around unfettered between the protective shelters and the outdoors. They have constant access to a natural diet, enjoy plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and they naturally migrate back to their shelters at night.
A humanely treated chicken is a stress-free chicken. Commercial chickens, on the other hand, are raised in severely cramped quarters where they can hardly move. This leads to stress which can lead to disease, which in turn results in the need for extensive use of antibiotics.
Antibiotic growth-promoter free
We do not administer AGPs to our chickens. In commercial chickens, AGPs are routinely administered to control micro-organisms in the intestines which in turn results in an unnatural growth rate.
Never fed routine antibiotics
Humans were never intended to process the infinite list of chemicals presently found in the food chain and in medicines. To state that antibiotic and growth-enhancing chemical intervention in livestock is perfectly harmless in humans, is misleading and irresponsible. Over half the antibiotics fed to commercial chickens are identical to the ones administered to humans. Overuse of these antibiotics can lead to strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, opening the doors wide for superbugs to flourish. In the event of the rare occurrence of disease, medication is administered under strict supervision by our consulting veterinarian to prevent any suffering amongst diseased birds.
Fish meal and animal by-product free
In addition to being able to forage naturally while they roam outside, our chickens are only fed high quality, all-grain food which boosts their immune systems. No forms of poultry meal (blood, feathers and dead birds) or fish meal are ever permitted in their dietary intake.
To ensure end-product safety, our chickens are air chilled to reach a temperature where microbial growth is minimized. This process sees our chickens pass through an inline chiller, which cools the chicken down to below 4ºC. The air chiller runs below 0ºC and fans blow cold air through the cavity of the chicken to shorten the amount of time it takes to cool down. The end-product spends no more than 90 minutes inside the air chiller. During this time about 1.5% moisture is lost which improves the quality of the product since it reduces the risk of purging.