Here at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, we raise chickens outdoors on pasture during the spring – fall. We currently raise freedom ranger broilers, which are a slower-growing alternative breed to the cornish cross we have raised in the past. We raise broilers on our farms in Buncombe and Rutherford counties.
Chicks spend their first 3 weeks of life in the brooder. They’re then moved onto pasture and housed in open-bottomed, closed-end shelters for predator protection. These houses are moved each day for the chickens to scratch and forage on fresh grass. Each year we change the location of our chicken pastures to maintain the proper fertility levels for our pastures and disrupt predator habits.
Free-Range Laying Hens
Our laying hens live in permanent houses with large outdoor yards where they scratch, have dust baths, hunt for worms and insects, and enjoy life as a chicken. We raise a mix of laying breeds, but most are Golden Comets, which produce large brown eggs.
We raise turkeys seasonally at Hickory Nut Gap Farm for Thanksgiving. Like our chicken broilers, turkey poults start out their life in the brooder and move onto pasture at about 3 weeks of age. The turkeys forage in our orchards and berry fields, eating insect pests and naturally fertilizing these fruit crops. Our poultry is given no antibiotics or added hormones and is raised on vegetarian feed.
We raise broad-breasted bronze and broad-breasted white breeds.
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