Our Approach

Salad Bar Beef


Herbivores in nature exhibit three characteristics: mobbing for predator protection, movement daily onto fresh forage and away from yesterday's droppings, and a diet consisting of forage only no dead animals, no chicken manure, no grain, and no fermented forage. Our goal is to approximate this template as closely as possible. Our cows eat forage only, a new pasture paddock roughly every day, and stay herded tightly with portable electric fencing. This natural model heals the land, thickens the forage, reduces weeds, stimulates earthworms, reduces pathogens, and increases nutritional qualities in the meat.

Joel and cattle

Pastured Broilers

We use 10 ft. X 12 ft. X 2 ft. high floorless, portable field shelters housing about 75 birds each to grow these 8-week meat birds. Moved daily to a fresh pasture paddock, these birds receive fresh air, exercise, sunshine, and all the genetically modified organism-free local grain they want. Integrating the cows to mow ahead of the shelters shortens the grass and encourages ingestion of tender, fresh sprouts. At Polyface, we want every animal to eat as much salad (green material) as its full genetic potential will allow.

Pasturized Broilers

Pastured Eggs

An Eggmobile follows the cows in their rotation. The Eggmobile is a 12 ft. X 20 ft. portable henhouse and the laying hens free range from it, eating bugs and scratching through cattle droppings to sanitize the pasture just like birds in nature that always follow herbivores as biological cleansers. The Feathernet is similar, although the birds are secured inside a large electrified netting that is moved every three days to offer additional clean pasturage. Cows mow ahead of the chickens.

The EggMobile

Pigaerator Pork

Polyface literally backed into the pig business many years ago as a way to build compost. When we feed hay to the cows, they eat and lounge in a pole shed that we bed down with wood chips, sawdust, and old hay to absorb the excrement. This bedding ferments in the anaerobic conditions created by the heavy cows walking on it. Added corn ferments and offers a tasty salary for pigs to aerate the bedding--hence PIGAERATOR. The oxygenation turns the entire deep bedding into a compost pile, which is the backbone of the farm's fertility program. During the summer and fall, the pigs are in special savannah pastures rotated every few days with electric fence.

Pigs

Pastured Turkeys

A portable hoophouse called the Gobbledygo offers shelter to the turkeys inside their electrified-netting paddock. Moved every couple of days to a fresh pasture, the turkeys ingest copious amounts of grass to supplement their local grain ration.

Pastured Turkeys

Forage-Based Rabbits

Daniel began raising rabbits in the late 1980s as a 4-H project and has developed a line-bred genetic base for meat rabbits that are hardy and can eat forage without getting diarrhea. Housed in elevated shelters above the chickens in a custom-made building called the Raken (Rabbit-Chicken) house, the breeding stock received unmedicated alfalfa pellets and hay or cut-and-carry fresh greens. In season, many of the bunnies are finished in portable, slatted-floored field shelters moved daily similar to the broilers.

Rabbits

Stewing Hens

We keep layers for two production years. At that point, they don't lay enough eggs to be economical and we dress these old birds. Although they are tougher than the young broilers, the taste is incomparably superior and the broth is exquisite. These must be slow cooked in order to be tender.

Pasturized Eggs

Lumber

With 450 acres of forest, we practice a sustainable harvest rotation and turn our logs into lumber with our bandsaw mill. We can cut lengths up to 24 ft. and any dimension desired. This custom cutting ability allows us to produce matched siding, sill plates, mantels, and big timbers for post and beam construction. Most of our wood is oak, but we do have some poplar, cherry, and walnut. We do not yet have a kiln. Wood can be stickered and air dried at one year per inch thickness. Many project can utilize green lumber.

Saw

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