Out to pasture Fresh air, natural diets appeal to poultry - and customers

MICHIGAN - Jay Johnson figures if raising chickens in fresh air and sunshine was good enough for farmers a century ago, it's good enough for him today.

After selling pasture-raised poultry and eggs from a Conway Township farm for nearly a year, he's learned a lot of other people agree.

"Some might think we're taking a big step backwards, but we're not,'' Johnson said. "It's just the way it used to be, and it's better. The welfare of the animals is better and the meat and eggs are better tasting.''

Johnson and his wife, Vicky, have lived on the 23-acre farm they call Topsy Turvy Acres for 15 years. After nearly 30 years as a United Parcel Service driver, he decided it was time to collect a pension and start doing what he really wanted to do.

"I had a rigid schedule with no flexibility at all,'' Johnson said. "I work seven days a week now but that beats five days a week at the other job. I'm setting my own hours now.''

When their daughter and son were younger, the Johnsons raised chickens and sheep to show in 4-H. When it came to choosing one or the other to raise in bigger numbers full-time, the chickens easily won out, Johnson said.

"Lamb is a tough market to make money in, and chickens are easier to handle,'' he said.

Source: mlive
calendar icon 28 October 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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