Tropical Traditions is shipping its pastured chickens raised outdoors on pasture and Cocofeed in 2006. The 2 kg birds sell for $28 a piece and that is at a discount.
The first birds went on the ground in May this year, and were raised by Amish farmers in western Wisconsin, USA.
The dressed birds are sold only through the internet and quite expensive; $84 for a trio. The frozen chickens are shipped in coolers with dry ice with second- day delivery ensuring that they arrive still frozen.
“By purchasing our chickens people are directly supporting the farmers who raise them, rather than a large company that runs vertically integrated farming systems producing cheap food,” Tropical Tradition explains the high price for their product on their website.
“The independent farmers who raise pasture birds for Tropical Traditions make a fair profit. Unless there is an economic incentive for more people to begin this type of farming, we are left with cheap factory produced chickens because nobody wants to take the time to raise them on pasture,” the company states.
The birds were fed a special feed based on coconut pulp and commercialised under the name Cocofeed â„¢.
This feed is an organic chicken-feed ration developed by Tropical Traditions and poultry nutritionists that contains coconut pulp as well as other high-quality natural ingredients.
The coconut pulp is the residue left over after coconut oil has been extracted from the coconut meat.
Cocofeed contains no soybeans, the most common ingredient in other organic chicken feeds in the US. In tropical cultures, coconut pulp residue, which is high in protein and fibre, has been a traditional feed ingredient for poultry and other livestock for many generations.
Compared to chickens fed organic soy-based feed the chickens fed the Cocofeed grew out very well, although they typically took up to an extra week to reach the same weight as those fed the soy-based feeds.
Laboratory tests on the chickens raised on Cocofeed showed something very interesting in the fat and meat: the presence of lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid found in coconut oil and human breast milk, and known to have many health benefits.
Tropical Traditions pastured poultry chickens are all raised by family farmers. These farmers run diversified farms practicing sustainable agriculture.
They will rotate tracts of land with crops and other animals, or let it go fallow from time to time. When a batch of chickens is raised on a piece of pasture, typically that pasture will not see chickens again for two or more years.
In the interval, crops may be grown in that pasture, or it may go fallow allowing grass to grow, die, and decompose so that the soil is kept in balance and not contaminated from too much chicken manure.