New Free-Range Poultry Guidebook Covers
Production, Processing, Pricing and Promotion
Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing, a new book
developed with the assistance of a USDA/SARE grant by Herman
Beck-Chenoweth, describes an innovative way to raise chickens
and turkeys on range and market meat and eggs.
Free-range poultry production was the popular way to raise
poultry in the United States from the '30's to the 60's.
With the rise of industrial agriculture in the 1950's this
low cost and sustainable program was phased out here at home,
but has enjoyed continuing popularity in Europe.
Unlike the pasture method being widely taught in the U.S.
today which is based on portable confinement pens with grass
floors, the free-range system can produce healthier birds, in
larger quantities, more humanely and with much less labor.
Under the free-range method, long portable skid-houses, which
hold up to 400 chickens each are towed by tractor to new
locations in the pasture every few weeks as needed during the
production season. The wooden skids are enclosed by poultry
wire, have litter covered floors, tarp covered gable roofs,
and doors on both ends. The only required fencing is
a strong perimeter fence to keep out neighbor's dogs; no
fencing is required between skids. Birds are locked on the
skids at night for protection from predators. Turkey
production is handled similarly. Full construction plans
for skids, feeders and other equipment for both are included
in the book.
Marketing of fryers, broilers, roasters and various cuts are
covered and comprehensive details are given on rules,
procedures and equipment sources. Also included are sections
on artificial insemination of poultry, incubation, hatching
and brooding of chicks and poults.
Two big sections include first-hand information about
processing and marketing with sample promotion materials
including price lists, newsletters, order forms and point of
sale posters. A comprehensive section on obtaining media
coverage and planning advertising is very helpful.
This book has been designed to enable a neophyte producer to
build a substantial farm business that could produce up to
20,000 chickens per year and up to $250,000 in direct farm
The guidebook is made up of a three-ring binder with tabs.
Diagrams are included for equipment construction, range
feeders and processing facilities. The author, a highly
successful poultry farmer himself, has researched older,
hard-to-find scientific literature and has six years of free-
range poultry experience. The writing style is informal and
This production model is well-suited to direct marketing and
appeals to consumers interested in "natural" chicken,
turkey and eggs produced without antibiotics and growth
promotants. Whether a farmer is just starting out or is
ready to graduate from "pastured poultry" this book is
helpful. For the farmer already producing corn and
soybeans this additional value-adding step could sig-
nificantly increase farm income and create additional family
The guidebook is available for $39.50 plus $4.50 s/h from:
Back Forty Books
Dept.26328 Locust Grove Road
Creola, Ohio 45622
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