Chickens are truly remarkable creatures. Their qualities become evident to us every day at our farm, which is why we are deeply committed to prioritizing animal welfare in our operations. While it might seem unusual for a chicken farmer to emphasize animal welfare, these two aspects are not mutually exclusive. In reality, chicken is the most widely consumed protein worldwide, and that is unlikely to change. However, what can change is the way chickens are raised and cared for throughout their lives.
Our goal is to set an example for the poultry industry, emphasizing the well-being of our animals and the environment above all else.
At Maple Wind Farm, we recognize that our sustenance comes from the land and the animals that inhabit it, and we hold profound respect for them. It is our mission to operate with the utmost ethics, employing regenerative agricultural practices and placing animal welfare at the forefront.
We delved deeper into the world of chickens, and what we discovered surprised us! Unless you have raised or studied chickens yourself, you might be equally astonished by their complexity and intelligence.
Chickens Surpass Expectations with Their Intelligence
No "bird brains" here! Chickens possess remarkable intelligence, often comparable to that of primates. In a 2017 article published in the journal Animal Cognition, Lori Marino discussed how chickens exhibit levels of intelligence, emotional depth, and social interaction similar to many mammals. It's fascinating to learn that chickens possess complex emotions and employ a diverse repertoire of communication, utilizing at least 24 distinct vocalizations.
Even before hatching, chickens exhibit nurturing behavior towards their unhatched offspring. They diligently tend to their eggs, and astonishingly, they establish a form of communication with their chicks through the eggshells. Once the eggs hatch, mother chickens play an active role in guiding their young, teaching them which foods to avoid and how to forage for suitable nourishment. Additionally, they fiercely protect their chicks from any perceived threats.
Chickens have a remarkable memory, capable of recognizing and remembering over 100 different faces. If you have the privilege of keeping backyard chickens on your urban or rural homestead, you've likely experienced the joy of being warmly greeted by your flock. Over time, a genuine bond can form, resembling the relationships one develops with traditional household pets such as dogs.
It's clear that chickens are far more intelligent and engaging creatures than commonly believed, challenging preconceived notions and revealing the depth of their cognitive abilities.
Providing Optimal Lives for our Pasture-Raised Chickens
The more we discover about the remarkable nature of chickens, the more steadfastly we uphold our mission of raising them on pasture. Chickens are intricate beings, possessing sensitivity and intelligence that command our utmost respect and admiration. Throughout our own lives, chickens have nourished us, and at Maple Wind Farm, we are dedicated to reciprocating that care throughout their lifetimes. Ethical farming goes beyond mere profits and the bottom line; it entails prioritizing welfare in every aspect—whether it pertains to the well-being of animals, farm workers, or the land itself.
To honor the nature of chickens, our birds spend the majority of their days outdoors, housed in mobile coops that allow them to engage in their natural behaviors. They roam freely, pecking, scratching, and foraging for seeds, bugs, worms, and small creatures. In addition, we ensure that our chickens receive a high-quality grain-based feed as a supplement to their natural pasture diet. Confined spaces devoid of natural light are not the intended habitat for chickens. By raising them on pasture, we provide an environment where they can thrive—enjoying abundant fresh air, basking in sunlight, and accessing a diverse and nutritious diet derived from foraging and thoughtful supplementation.
By adopting this approach, our chickens experience an improved quality of life, resulting in meat that is more nourishing for our consumers. We take pride in offering our product of exceptional quality, while finding solace in the knowledge that our chickens lead lives of the highest caliber.