Cheap, local, natural chicken! (If you're an Okie anyway)

From their website, the DARP chickens are:


The CEO, Raymond Jones, was quoted to say that, “We only put 15,000 birds in a house,” he said. “And we open the doors at 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to let them out. Some other chicken plants will house up to 45,000 in one house, and that is just inhumane.”

Although these may not be "ideal" conditions for the birds, since some of them do not leave the barn from what I've heard, this is a MUCH better alternative than eating commercial chicken raised on antibiotics and treated inhumanely. Like I told a friend yesterday, at this point in our life due to our food budget, our number one priority is that the chickens are hormone and antibiotic free and these are. They are cheap too. I also read in the article that they are cleaned with vinegar and water, my favorite cleaner. :) So much better than dipping them in bleach...eww. Please wash your chicken if you still buy commercial.

A great big bonus for those in Oklahoma and surrounding areas, it's local! Yay! The chickens are raised and hand processed in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The chickens I bought today, were slaughtered and cleaned today. Talk about fresh chicken. The one pictured below is a 7lb "Holiday" chicken I got for $10.

For more reading about the organization and the raising and processing of the chickens, click here for an article from a local newspaper.

For more info on where the farm is located and where to buy the chickens, click here. Here are the local locations where you can buy it:

NATIVE ROOT'S MARKET: 405-310-6300

OKC/OSU FARMER'S MARKET: Saturday mornings
CRESCENT MARKET: 405-842-2000

FOR PRICING CALL: (918)207-0565
or email:

I pick mine up through a co-op at the parking lot near Bass Pro on Thursdays a couple times a month. It's usually cheaper. If you are unable to be at Bass Pro between 4:30pm and 5:30pm, I can pick up chickens for you if you get me your money in advance. If you are interested in that, let me know through email or on the blog and I will forward you info on future chicken drops.

You have no excuse now to feed your family the hormone and antibiotic filled chicken (besides the occasional Chick-fil-a, because that place is awesome. ;) ) This is cheap, local, and good for you! Please take advantage. I have mine roasting right now and it smells amazing. Can't wait to make my chicken stock with the bones afterwards. For my previous post on what I normally do with a whole chicken, click here.

ETA on 4/29/12: Via Jenny Ranum (my azure coop coordinator) Thank you so much Jenny for all the hard work you do so we don't have to!  :)

"Information on DARP Processing

Hey All,

A while ago, I dug into different chicken options and I'm finally getting an email put together to share some things I learned. It really was fascinating to talk with the owners of the processing plants and I learned so much. Below are the reasons I decided to stick with DARP chicken. I'll share the highlights here, but please ask for more details if you would like them.

DARP recently upgraded all of their chicken houses:
- added extra openings (port holes) in the buildings for the chickens to get outside more easily
- camoflaged screens are put up in the summer so that the chickens have shade
- switched from propane heat for chicks to radiant heating: pipes were installed in the floor and are filled with hot water to heat the chicken house. This drastically reduced the amount of propane they were using. It is much healthier for the birds (no fumes) - the mortality rate of the chicks was reduced to less than 1%, which is incredibly low. Other processors have been coming to DARP to see how they did this and to see the very positive results.

The other things that DARP does differently:
- the birds are chilled on ice rather than in a cold water bath (with chlorine added), which means that *if* there is something wrong with a bird, it won't spread to other birds. (As an aside, USDA tests their birds weekly and officials have come out to find out what they are doing to produce chickens that are so free of pathogens.)
- hand processing - the plucker is a machine, but someone is looking at each bird to cut and package.
- the food and water are put outside so that the birds won't camp out in the houses. The shades in the summer help to keep them outside rather than go in during the summer.
- they have a lot of room to roam around even inside houses. 

DARP does not test their feed

The other part about feed that I'll share from the conversation I had with DARP is that they are learning much more about GMOs from a man who is very knowledgeable about feed and the industry. His name is Dan Masters from Hiland Naturals and information on his feed company can be found here:

Here is the blurb from the Hiland Naturals website in the About section:

"Hiland Naturals Feeds is your source for non-gmo, non-soy, and organic feeds. We believe that healthy feed leads to healthy animals. That’s why our feed ingredients are wholesome and beneficial. It is our belief that our feed philosophy coupled with choosing to raise animals in sync with nature, that anyone raise premium high-quality foods, naturally."

The non-GMO and non-GMO/non-soy feeds that DARP is currently testing on a flock is from this feed producer.

A few other non-processing based reasons why I decided to stick with DARP is that it is Oklahoma based and DARP stands for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Program. It is a place where people work and learn about more than just chicken while they are making major life changes."

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