As an organic farm we do have many customers that come to the Farm Shop for organic produce and where we can source it we will always try to have an organic option. We don’t produce chickens ourselves, although we do have a flock of organic egg laying hens and we sell these eggs in the shop. At the moment we sell organic chickens from Chris Hodgson’s organic farm at Piercebridge in County Durham. These are £8.70/kg and can be quite large… half birds are an option.
Organic chickens take more than twice as long to fatten as conventional chickens, and their feed is three times the price….hence they are twice as expensive as the next on the list. The birds are raised in small arks holding 70 birds each. These birds live a natural free-range life chasing bugs, making dust wallows and pecking at the herb-rich grass, resulting in a flavoursome and well textured bird. The Hodgsons believe that they have also had a much happier and healthier life.
These chickens have had no antibiotics (which is very important to some people) and will not have eaten grass contaminated with pesticides or chemicals. Organic chickens must also have access to grazing land containing grass every day of the year. Slower grown, they put down natural fat and are absolutely delicious. With these large chickens you should get at least 12 meals plus amazing stock for soup, so we’re talking about £2 per head per meal.
We have also started selling “Durham Chickens” since the start of lockdown, when any chicken was hard to source. These are £4.00/kg and very popular but not organic and not free range. They are British, farmed to high welfare standards in the North East or Cumbria and processed here in County Durham. They are not kept in cages but they are kept in large factory like barns and will have had antibiotics. These birds finish in about 28 days and are generally between £1.6 and 2.2kg so £6-£8. We have had great feedback on these birds as a tasty, economic option.
Herb Fed Chickens
In between we offer the Yorkshire based Herb Fed free range chickens. These are not from Durham but are free range, grown by the Ward family and a compromise, these are £6.50/kg . Free range chickens must have access to the outdoors but it does not have to be grass – it can be bare soil. These chickens are however very well looked after.
All our chickens are clearly labelled and priced in the fridge and customers are able to select the size and type of chicken they prefer.
As well as whole birds we offer chicken portions and a range of added value chicken products ranging from Pitmen’s pouches to lemon and coriander marinaded chicken breasts as well as chicken livers etc.
If you have any questions about any of our products please do ask us.