Pasture Protocols & 
Animal Husbandry Guidelines

Farmer Girl Meats Poultry

Farmer Girl sources poultry directly from small poultry producers. All poultry animals are raised in a pasture –based system. Producers sign a Farmer Girl affidavit attesting that all poultry meet the criteria outlined below.

Program Criteria:

This program consists of the following criteria for poultry:

  1. Continuous and unconfined access to pasture throughout the animal’s production cycle. 
  2. Grass and pasture forages are supplemented with free choice or limited feeding with corn, barley, wheat, and other grains, minerals, and plant-based proteins.
  3. Free-range. Birds are provided shelter in a building, room, or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material.
  4. Cage-free. Birds are able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.
  5. No added hormones. Poultry have never received hormones (synthetic or natural forms of growth hormones), steroids, or other artificial growth promotants from birth to harvest. 
  6. No antibiotics used. Market poultry have never received antibiotics from birth to harvest.
  7. A record keeping system for source verification, general flock management, and identification of birds that have received pharmaceuticals (presumably due to acute illness). Birds that have received pharmaceuticals are not sold as retail meat to Farmer Girl Meats, LLC.

Pasture Raising:

Poultry are raised on pasture. Chics may be purchased from a known entity or born on-farm. Any purchased chics are purchased from known producers. Chics may be confined to a brooding area until they reach outdoor maturity.  This is necessary to prevent injury and death. During this time chics are fed grains, plant-based proteins, and minerals. After the brooding period, birds are moved to a pasture-based hoop house or chicken tractor. Birds have access to pasture forages, with daily supplementation of a grain, plant-based protein, and mineral feed. Birds have access to water at all times. Chicken tractors, if used, are moved to fresh pasture on a regular basis.

Growth Hormones, Antibiotics and Vaccinations:

Farmer Girl and producers working with Farmer Girl utilize low-stess handling and employ production practices that promote health. 

Poultry have never received hormones (synthetic or natural forms of growth hormones), steroids, or other artificial growth promotants from birth to harvest. 

No antibiotics or ionophores are used, unless serious illness mandates treatment. In the event of serious illness or injury, animals may be conventionally medicated and administered antibiotic to minimize suffering and prevent death. Poultry that receive antibiotics as a treatment for an illness or injury may not be sold to Farmer Girl Meats. Birds treated with antibiotics must be removed from the main flock and placed in a designated production area marked for private consumption only.  This designated production area for treated birds must be evident and visible to the Farmer Girl team on a site visit. Medication and antibiotic treatment is recorded in the flock record book.

Record Keeping and Documentation:

Flock data should be recorded in a record keeping system, including the chic source and date of purchase if applicable. The flock book should be used to record all health records, weight records, medications administered, vaccinations, and specific antibiotic administration events. Antibiotic events are highlighted with a backfill color, and the i.d. tag/animal is designated as Not For Sale. Prior to processing any animal for wholesale or retail sale, the record book is consulted to confirm no antibiotics have been administered. 

All purchased forages or feeds should have sales receipts that include a description of the product. These receipts should be kept in files, by year.

Source Verification:

All animals have full traceability; additionally, farms’ practices are visible and well known.  Producer production practices must comport with those of Farmer Girl Meats, as outlined here. Producers must sign an affidavit attesting that production practices comport with those of Farmer Girl Meats.

All poultry must have been born, raised and spent their entire life in the U.S.

Follow this link to browse our selection of free-range poultry cuts.