6 Reasons Why Pasture-Raised Heirloom Chickens are Better
Our birds are given unrestricted outdoor access on our 800-acre farm in Northwest Arkansas. They instinctively forage, roam, roost, and even jump through pasture, creeks, and forest—just as nature intended.
Cooks Venture is certified by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Step 4, requiring:
- birds to be raised on-pasture 100% of the time, starting at the age of four weeks old
- that the pasture be maintained
- use of a breed that is specifically bred to live outdoors
- shade and enrichments to be made available
Our special heirloom breed comes from decades of breeding and husbandry, yielding birds that are healthier, hardier, and happier. They’re given ample time to develop bone density naturally—before putting on any muscle—as compared to their conventional counterparts, which are bred to grow so fast and so large they can actually barely walk.
We support local farmers by feeding our birds local, Non-GMO feed, which is grown using methods that improve soil health and directly translate to better nutrition—for both the bird and for you!
Our chickens are raised and fed a diet in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard for the avoidance of genetically engineered ingredients.
To ensure food safety, the USDA requires poultry to be cooled to a certain temperature before packaging. Most processors cool chickens in huge vats of ice-cold water, which not only increases the risk of cross-contamination, it allows the chickens to absorb, diluting the quality and flavor. You also end up paying for the water weight—an increase of anywhere from 2-12% of the final selling weight!
Instead, our air chilled chickens pass through several chambers of cold, purified air. While this method takes longer, the positive results are gaining attention and popularity with buyers in the USA. Not only is there no added water, but the chicken also retains its natural juices for a tender, more flavorful meat (which cooks faster), and the skin is much crispier when cooked.
NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER
Our heirloom chickens are robust, active, and healthy—resulting in a slow-growing bird with higher bone density. We feed our special, slow-growth birds natural immune boosters, such as fresh herbs and apple cider vinegar, and we never feed them antibiotics, period.
Regenerative agriculture is a set of principles for managing land that improves soil health over time, resulting in both carbon capture and improved water systems. This process—where plants and animals work together—produces healthier, better-tasting food while working to mitigate global warming.
The key to Cooks Venture’s regenerative chicken lies in the feedstock. We work directly with farms and feed mills in the Midwestern United States to purchase a diverse mix of Non-GMO Project Verified grains. Our custom feed blend is specifically designed to utilize cover crops, directly and financially incentivizing farmers to incorporate nitrogen fixers into their crop rotations.
Conclusion - When it comes to chicken, we want the best—and we know you do, too! Simply put, the secret to astounding chicken is:
Slow-Growth | Non-GMO | Air-Chilled | No Antibiotics Ever | Regenerative