Here at Rafter W Ranch, we’re known for our commitment to raising our animals well. We want them to enjoy their lives – fulfill their calling even – doing whatever it is they were made to do, whether that’s scratching, pecking, or grazing. But just as important as our animals living well is their dying well. That’s not always a comfortable subject to discuss, but we think it matters.
Overview of Processing
We’d like to offer an overview of our chicken processing procedures for those who want to know that their food is treated with the proper dignity throughout its life and death. We are able to process all our poultry on site. This is important for both you, and your food. Why? First of all, our broilers don’t have to endure being caught, crated, trucked and transported down the highway. They stay very local, from pasture to plate. We think the less stress they endure, the better for them and us, whether considering it from an animal welfare standpoint or a nutritional one.
We do not use electric stunning, but follow procedures similar to those practiced in some traditional and religious societies. This quiets the chicken, provides a nearly painless kill, and ensures that the meat is tastier and keeps better. [You can see a very similar process shown in detail here, demonstrated at a Mother Earth News Fair if you like.] Have you ever noticed a lot of darkness around the bones of conventionally processed chickens? That’s blood that was left in the carcass. This is much less likely with our process.
Evisceration – the process where the organs and other bits are removed (leaving a lovely, oven-ready bird) – is done manually here. That means real people are overseeing and performing this by hand; it’s not done by a robotic, automated system. What difference does that make? Well, let’s just say that with us, there’s almost zero chance of puncturing or opening the digestive system, which would contaminate the carcass and processing area with bacteria-filled fecal matter. Yuck.
Since our birds are kept so clean through this process, our chill tanks are never murky and we don’t have to soak them in harsh chemicals. We only offer to our customers the same quality foods that we are thrilled to feed our own families, and that includes our careful management of processing, and every step along the way.
At Rafter W Ranch, we believe in honoring the sacrifice of our animals and doing our very best to see that our birds’ transition from life is done as kindly and humanely as possible. If this matters to you, rest assured that all the chicken in our shop meets this standard.