Evaluating the impact of corn and soy feed versus corn-free, soy-free feed in pastured poultry production will allow us to understand the customer demand for corn-free, soy-free chicken and the impact it has on animal health, growth rates and meat quality. After direct marketing over 1000 pasture raised chickens in the Twin Cities, we were asked by 20 customers to raise corn-free, soy-free chickens. Many customers choose not to eat pastured chicken because of food sensitivities caused by corn and soy feed. Our goal is to evaluate the differences between chickens fed the two types of feed while making and promoting ecologically, economically and socially sound choices. By assessing the animal health and growth rates between the two groups of chickens, we will provide research for other farmers on the economic viability of a corn-free, soy-free pastured chicken enterprise. Lastly, by understanding the differences in nutritional composition for human nutrition between the two groups of chickens, we will provide sound research for customers and a new market for farmers. We are committed to using sustainable practices, including moving chickens to fresh pasture daily, supplying feed from local growers and improving the quality of lives of farmers and the chickens.
Project objectives from proposal:
Evaluate the impact of corn and soy feed versus corn-free, soy-free feed in pastured poultry production on the following three factors:
- Animal Health – Compare mortality
- Growth Rates – Assess the differences in feed conversion ratios, feed consumption and processed weights
- Meat Quality – Evaluate nutritional composition for human nutrition