North Carolina producer John McAuley (Healthy Hen Farms) joins the show to talk about his pastured broiler operation, marketing frozen chicken, and some lessons learned in the brooder. John focuses on pasture-raised broilers and turkeys and expects to raise approximately 8,000 birds in 2016.
John started his pastured poultry career in the mid 1990’s as Polyface’s second apprentice. He wanted to share some of his perspective on selling frozen chicken (an episode 30 topic). We also check in on his operation in general.
Here’s some of what we cover:
- Lessons of building on leased land.
- Why John ended the wholesale egg business. Why he says, pick one thing and do that one thing well.
- John shares his modifications to the Salatin style daily move pen in terms of size, ventilation, and construction.
- Healthy Hen Farms sells 100% of its chicken frozen as a way to compensate with the logistical nightmare of selling fresh, whole birds. Going all frozen has completely changed Healthy Hen Farm’s business. He’s able to make deliveries all year round while collapsing the production season.
- Currently processing 120-130 birds per hour.
- John talks about his new brooder design and why the QC Supply game bird drinkers is one of the best things about the brooder.
Find John Online:
John mentioned these products in the podcast that you might be interested in:
Terrell Spencer joins Mike as a guest host. Fresh off an APPPA related trip to the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, Texas, the two share their impressions about the show.
Highlights of the episode:
- Is Texas poised as the next pastured poultry hot spot? There are several processing options accessible to the DFW and Austin markets: Windy Meadows Family Farm and Cobb Creek are state inspected. Dewberry Hills Farm is USDA inspected.
- At the fair, Spence talked about selling beyond farmers market; he overviews a key point or two about the differences between selling to restaurant and retail outlets.
- We learn one of the keys to a good farming presentation. Beware of what might or might not be behind the scenes.
- At APPPA’s dinner reception, Joel Salatin outlined a few weaknesses that he sees in the pastured poultry community right now. Spence and Mike kick those topics around and offer our perspectives on eggs, housing, processing, and pasture management.
Stay tuned. Spence will be back on a future episode.