Pasture-raised chickens have become an important part of the Sunrise operation in recent years by providing us with delicious meat and extraordinary manure for the sheep pastures.
We don’t call these birds “free range” because technically they aren’t - they live under a roof that’s surrounded by electric netting to keep out predators. Every morning, we open the fence, slide the roof down the pasture, add some more grain to the feeders, and watch as the birds troop over for the fresh grass, grain, and bugs. Our system has evolved over the years: the first year was truly free range, the second was free-range from the perspective of the local foxes and red-tailed hawks, and the third year was marked by the introduction of electric fencing. We’re now raising 1,000 birds per year, spread across 3 roofs, 7 months, and 6 batches.
We process all of our broilers here at Sunrise thanks to the “chicken exemption” that allows for on-farm processing of up to 1,000 whole birds per year. Our on-farm set up is clean and relatively stress free for the birds.
A crew of five can process and bag around 100 birds in a morning and be ready for lunch by noon. While slaughter is never easy, we are heartened by the fact that we can give our birds the best end-of-life possible. We can also offer you a better tasting chicken because we are involved in every step of quality control.
Ordering and Pricing
Birds will be ready for pickup every week from mid-June through October. These will be whole birds, suitable for roasting (or cutting into pieces), available fresh or frozen. The birds will weigh in the 4.0-5.5 lb. range each and cost $4.00 per pound. If you order five or more chickens, the price will drop to $3.75/lb; ten or more and the price is $3.50/lb; twenty or more and you're down to $3.25/lb.
You'll need to pre order to take advantage of the above prices, so email any time if you’d like to place an order. Most of the birds will go to our CSA members on an a la carte basis, but you don’t need to be a CSA member to purchase Sunrise meats.