Maple Wind Farm will offer seasonal USDA-inspected processing services for chickens and turkeys in 2024. At this time we only process meat-breed chickens and turkeys; we DO NOT process old laying hens, ducks, geese, or game birds.
Maple Wind Farm Scheduling USDA-Inspected Chicken Slaughter for 2024
Our 2024 chicken processing season will run from early June to mid-November. Our minimum batch is 100 birds but we can do as many as 1000 in a day. We schedule smaller batches together to ensure that we are processing at least 800 chickens or 100 Turkeys per day. We have limited availability for outside processing so we strongly recommend you contact us before ordering your chicks to confirm processing availability. In general, Wednesdays will be our designated day for larger external farm processing.
Farmers utilizing our processing services must drop off their birds at the Andrews Barn in Richmond by 7:30 am the day of processing (1149 East Main St, Richmond, VT). Those who are late will incur a $300/hour late fee (this covers our labor costs while we wait for you!). This is in addition to any inspector overtime fees which are incurred due to tardiness. Please remove feed no later than Noon the day before slaughter; this will make our day more pleasant and result in a cleaner and safer product for you and your customers. Failure to do this could result in losing processing privileges. All chickens must be in clean stackable poultry crates. Please note: due to cross contamination issues, we are not renting crates. Please remember that the inspector can reject the birds if the crates are not clean. Birds must be packed 9 to a crate. Please do not put more as it constitutes a lifting issue for staff. The only exception will be if your birds are over-sized and cannot safely fit into your crates. Please work diligently to keep your birds to a reasonable size (dress weight 3 - 5 lbs - live weight 4.8 - 6.5 lbs). We suggest that you do not ask us to part birds that dress under 3 lbs. The packages are very small and the cost per lb will be very high.
We will do all processing and packaging (vacuum-sealed). We save necks, hearts, and livers and can package them along with the whole bird or separately. We can save feet for an additional $.25-bird. If more than half your birds have ammonia blisters, we will not save feet for you! Clean bedding in housing and moving birds to fresh pasture daily will keep feet clean.
Air Chilling: Birds will be chilled using our air chilling system. This requires up to 16 hours of chill time so chicken will be available for pick up at the end of the following business day (example:Thursday for a Wednesday slaughter day). You can expect less retained water and a more flavorful product!
We will also need to know if you’ve administered any antibiotics to your flock
and if so, that the proper withdrawal period has been followed. This will require a signature during drop off.
We provide a basic label that includes your farm name and contact information along with the necessary regulatory language, packed on date, and weight. We are a certified organic slaughterhouse and can label your birds as organic if we know in advance and you have secured USDA-LSAS approval of the organic label. We will require a certificate from your certifying agency and a signed affidavit to be on file prior to processing. You may supply an additional label with a product claim (Pasture-Raised, Certified Organic) but these labels must be approved by the USDA prior to slaughter.
PLEASE NOTE: All claims must be approved by USDA and this process can take up to 6 weeks. Contact us as soon as possible if you have any questions about labels. Please don’t print any labels without prior approval from us.
2024 Pricing (subject to change)
For chickens, the processing charge is $7.25/bird for more than 100 birds at a time. There is an additional charge of $1/each for colored meat birds and $1/each for birds over 7 pounds. There is an additional charge of $2.50/box for each box used in packaging (each box holds 6-9 birds). If we save feet for you, there will be an additional $.25-bird charge.
We are offering limited parting services for farmers this season. For larger producers we may be able to part up to half your birds into the standard selections: boneless/skinless breast (2/pack), tenders (1 lb/pack), legs (2/pack), wings (16/pack), and backs (2-3/pack).
For smaller producers we may be able to part all of your birds. The cost is an additional $3.75/bird. Please inquire with Bruce. You must pre-schedule batches for parting - if you don’t we will NOT part for you.
Hot Weather + Ventilation
In the past we have had a number of unfortunate D.O.A events due to hot weather and birds delivered in tightly packed crates without adequate ventilation. We’ve also seen birds lost to cold and inclement weather. Here are some strategies to prevent D.O.As and high stress events for your birds in transit and while sitting on the dock before slaughter:
- Less birds per crate, especially if they are bigger than 6 lbs live weight
- Use a flatbed open trailer or truck for transit. If traveling a long distance at highway speeds, please install windbreaks in front of the crate stacks.
- Add an empty crate below each stack to give extra ventilation to birds at the bottom
- Keep airspace between crate stacks. Some time installing 2x4’s on the floor to keep a gap between stacks will help during transit
- If you must capture birds the night before make sure there is plenty of airspace between stacks and install multiple fans to keep air moving
- Cold & Inclement Weather: Consider delivering in a stock trailer or enclosed truck with adequate ventilation. If delivering on a flatbed, make sure to put a solid windbreak up front to reduce significant additional chilling of live birds.
We will offer turkey processing in November on the dates given. We have a minimum of 10 turkeys and the price is $1.25/pound with a $16 minimum. Turkeys should be transported in an enclosed trailer that Please contact us with any questions about turkey processing.
For more information or to schedule processing, please contact Bruce Hennessey, Director of Meat Processing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important Notes about Avian Influenza: Please Read!
All poultry owners, regardless of size and business structure, should familiarize themselves with signs of illness and call the State Veterinarian’s Office if they see:
- Nasal discharge
- Difficulty breathing
- Discolored wattles or combs
- Sudden death
If you notice any of these symptoms in your flock prior to your slaughter date we ask that you DO NOT bring your birds to Maple Wind Farm. Please report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at (802)-828-2421 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.
Transporting any birds with these symptoms would be devastating to our own operation and the many producers that come into contact with our facility.
Your flock will be checked upon arrival by both the poultry manager and USDA inspector. If there are any signs of illness related to Avian Influenza your birds will be rejected.
Maple Wind Farm will be focused on maintaining biosecurity and taking any necessary precautions to avoid contracting or spreading this devastating disease and it is our hope that you do too.