March 2011

Posted by on Mar 15, 2011 in Skyelark Ranch

Skyelark Ranch ‘ewsletter, March 2011

It’s early March 2011 and things are rapidly showing the signs of spring all around the Capay Valley. So fast, in fact, that we realized it’s high time we sent out a letter to inform you of our plans for this, our first year in business as Skyelark Ranch. We had hoped to present our first news in a far more refined fashion – logo, website, cute photos of lambs frolicking in the green grass, etc. All of which will come eventually, I promise – but with all the moving and fence-fixin’ we’ve had to do to get this far, we know you’ll understand and excuse this hastily-produced ‘ewsletter’.

Skyelark Ranch will produce various pasture-based meat products including; grass-finished beef, lamb, and pastured poultry. Our lamb and beef will be completely natural, eating only what they choose as they move through our pastures, receiving no hormones or unnatural feed supplements. As we move through spring, we will keep you up-to-date of the herd’s progress and provide more information on the various benefits of our grass-based farming system, along with providing information on how to order products as they become available. In the meantime, there are some excellent resources available regarding the multiple benefits of eating pasture-raised meats; http://www.eatwild.com/ , http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/pasture/.

This year we are planning to raise at least three groups of broiler chickens. Two will be produced in the spring and one in the fall. We would like to start the year by giving you the opportunity to get your orders for chickens in now.

Skyelark Ranch chickens are raised almost entirely on pasture. The chicks arrive on the farm at only two days old and spend their first two weeks in a brooder which provides the warmth and security required for them to grow without stress or the dangers of predation. At two weeks old they are transferred to their mobile pen; a specially designed contraption which we move every day to provide the chicks with a constant supply fresh green grass, bugs, and grubs. The pens are big enough for the chicks to scratch around, secure against the threat of predators, but light enough that we can pull them around the pastures by hand. By providing the chickens with daily exposure to fresh green grass we are supplementing their food consumption with forage. In addition they chickens are cleaning the pasture of parasitic bugs, engaging in typical chicken scratching behavior, and spreading organic manure fertilizer as we go, all of which help us to raise a great product and build the soil nutrients for next year’s grass growth, and subsequently next year’s animals.

We are planning to have the first batch ready for early May and the next will be ready two to three weeks later. You can decide how many chickens you would like to order from each batch, to help save on freezer space and to suit your schedule for delivery. As we are only raising as many chickens as we have on pre-order, we are asking for a $5 deposit for each chicken you would like us to raise for you.

Please fill in the attached order form and return to us with your deposit. We will then confirm your order and discuss our delivery options.

Thank you so much for your interest in local, sustainable, and pasture-raised meats. We are very much looking forward to our future partnership and having you as a part of our farming life. Please feel free to pass along this newsletter to anyone you think may be interested in purchasing pasture-raised meats from Skyelark Ranch.