Q: Are you Certified Organic?
A: No, but while we are not Certified Organic, we DO raise our livestock to the most organic methods we can. We do not use hormones or unnecessary antibiotics and we try to use natural treatments whenever possible. However, we will not sacrifice the health of our animals to attain Certification.
Q: Are you Certified Humane?
A: No, we DO raise our animals humanely, but we have not applied to attain Certification (and probably never will). For most programs that require certifications there is a large amount of hoops to jump through and red tape to cut. For a small family farm like ours, it isn’t the most efficient use of time and resources. We prefer to dedicate ourselves to our animal’s care.
Q: What is the difference between cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised?
A: Cage-Free is regulated by the USDA, but it only means that the hens don’t live in cages. The term does not specify or indicate how much space they have, or whether or not they see the outdoors. Typically these hens are kept in a barn or other similar facility. Their living conditions can be cramped, but it isn’t always the case. If cage-free eggs comes with a certified humane status given by the HFAC, that means the hens were given at least 1.5 sq ft of space each.
Free-Range is also a term regulated by the USDA, and it means hens were given continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. This does not guarantee that a hen ever actually stepped foot outside, it just means there was a way for them to do so. It’s one step more humane than cage-free in philosophy, but according to NPR, it might just mean that the hens had a “few small doors that led to a screened-in porch, cement, dirt or a modicum of grass.” To be free-range and certified humane, there must be a minimum of two square feet of outdoor space per bird.
Pasture-Raised is not regulated by the USDA. But in order for pasture-raised eggs to also be labeled certified humane, it means that they were given ample space to roam outdoors ― we’re talking 108 sq ft – but also have access to a barn for cover. This mandated space means there’s ample room to allow for rotating the flocks, ensuring that they have fresh food to pick at.