Saturday, March 2, 2013

Eating Farm Gate Chicken?

I have been writing lots.  I have now received my first comment about the Blog, and Raube wins the leadership award in that category.

So now, lets get you to educate me.

I'm interested in all the reasons why you prefer, or detest, the idea of eating farm gate chicken.  Feel free to speak for yourself, as well your family, friends, or neighbours.

Some possible reasons:
  • Better Taste
  • Better Nutrition
  • Cheaper
  • More convenient
  • More accessible (geographically, safety, affordability, transportation, etc.) 
  • Farm gate fights against Food Deserts (areas where access to food is low to non-existent)
  • Support local farmers
  • Safer
  • Cleaner, better quality
  • Lower environmental footprint
  • Locally produced food
  • Supports local economy
  • Keep local money in the local community
  • Economic spin-off effects ($1.00 spent locally has the same economic benefit as $3.00 spent elsewhere)
  • More trustworthy supplier
  • Readily available close to home
  • Barter opportunities
  • Support my neighbours
  • Avoid antibiotics, drug, & growth hormone residues
  • Support & encourage heritage breeds of poultry
  • Support & encourage bio-diversity
  • Effective method to re-use, recycle waste food scraps
  • Obtain rich biomass fertilizer in poultry manure
  • Other


  1. we have been supplying our customers with the kind of chicken that you have described. We are small scale full time farmers on a diversified certified organic farm.We grow all the organic grains and formulate their rations. we are members of EFAO,NFU,OCO,etc etc...We made an important business decision for our farm lobby CFO in 2004 to purchase a small amount of chicken quota...we purchased more in 2007 & 2009. We are at our farm you see there are farmers who are supplying the type of chicken you are praising

    1. Thanks for the feedback Cathy. Glad to know someone is doing well out there as a Small Flocker. I would like to learn more about how you got CFO to agree to less than 14,000 quota units.

    2. we presented CFO with a realistic business plan in 2004 to raise "certified organic meat chickens"..then as our demand increased we purchased more quota in 2007&2009. We worked within the system. CFO was co-operative stating that your "organic standards supercede some of their regs."...we worked with them to write the Free Range On Farm Food Safety Assurance Program.

    3. That is very good to hear. It sounds like you have made quite the investment into your process and documentation. I visited your website & saw that you have attended many course in Organic Farming, Organic Verifier, etc. Excellent! I hope it all works for you and is worth your dedication.

      I'm not sure that everybody wants or needs to go that big, or that organic. Being in London/St. Thomas, you have many advantages that remote rural areas don't get. For example, the nearest provincially licensed abattoir that does custom poultry processing is more than 300 km away for me. I assume your abattoir is very close by.

    4. The meat chickens are part of our full time farming operation. we are not THAT big. The PFO and others are wanting to be able to raise 2000 without seems odd to me that the 300 exemption is totally under ultilized....the data says that the average backyard flock is 60 birds? We are fortunate to be in a populated area of southern ontario ...we have a processing within a hour drive.

    5. Do you see your method (getting special niche quota from CFO) as a solution for all small flockers who are bumping against 300 bird limit?

      I understand there are 1 million birds in the hands of small flockers, and only 6% of those birds get sold at farm gate (ie. 60,000 birds), with 200 million birds per year by the quota boys, so small flockers are just 0.03% of retail market. In other words, the quota boys have a monopoly, and I'm sure they like it that way, and want to keep it.

      I also noticed that very few small flockers are using the full 300 quota.

      How can small flockers justify their demand for a 2,000 bird link, when it is only the rare individual who is using the full 300 bird limit they're currently allowed?

      I suggest it's a combination of factors at work. In Ontario, Justice Haines wrote his Meat Report in 2004, and OMAFRA made sweeping changes in the Meat Regulations, prohibiting the farm-gate selling of self-slaughtered birds.

      For me, the nearest custom poultry slaughter plant is 300 km from my farm gate. To take my small flock there for processing and returning the meat in a refrigerated truck would add $3.00 per pound to the cost of my chicken. If my COP (Cost of Production for the feed, my time, electricity, propane heaters, etc.) is $3.00 per pound, I can sell my chickens at $6.00 per pound. Nobody I know would be willing to buy $6.00 per pound chicken from my farm gate when it's in the grocery store at $3.00 per pound.

      I think the issue described above may be a major contributing factor on why the 300 bird limits aren't maxed out, but I don't think it's the only one.

      I'd be interested in everybody's input on the other reasons why they have a small flock, but don't use their full 300 bird limit.

    6. looks like no other Small Flockers answered your question as to why they only raise a small portion of their 300 number.....they had the whole 2013 season to raise them


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