At most Thanksgiving dinners, a succulent, savory turkey is the focal point of the table and will undoubtedly be a fan favorite at dinner. If you’re the one responsible to cooking this year, it might seem easy to pick up a bird from the freezer section of the grocery store while you’re buying your yams and green beans.
The poultry industry produces more than 46 million turkeys annually. Especially in large production facilities, birds are subject to poor diet, uncomfortable living conditions, and external stressors – all of which affect the quality of the meat you will consume.
Red House Ranch turkeys are a different story. Pasture-raised and growth-promoter free, our turkeys lead happy lives before they end up on your table.
Before you buy, take some time to learn about what goes into the raising and processing of your Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Treatment and Dwelling Spaces
Red House Ranch turkeys are pasture-raised, meaning they are outdoors every day. We house our turkeys in mobile turkey tractors that are moved every day to ensure clean and abundant natural resources for our birds. With plenty of room to roam in the grass and sunlight, our turkeys live stress-free lives as they graze and roost at their leisure in the company of other birds.
In industrial turkey houses, birds are often kept in large, windowless buildings, without access to the outdoors or room to graze. Often, they are packed so tightly that their only option is to either stand or lay in the same spot for days on end. Though well ventilated, the cages housing mass-market birds are rarely cleaned, forcing the turkeys to dwell in (and eat surrounded by) their own manure. In very high-production facilities, birds are sometimes de-beaked and de-clawed in order to minimize damage to other birds brought on by aggressive behavior due to overcrowding.
It’s no secret that here at the Red House Ranch we believe in clean eating – and that goes for our birds too! RHR turkeys benefit from their ability to graze on a diet of fresh grass, bugs, and seeds. In addition, we feed them antibiotic-free, non-genetically modified supplemental grain to enhance their nutrition. With a steady diet of proteins, greens, and carbohydrates, they remain healthy and maintain steady, supported growth. This nutritious, natural diet results in a more flavorful bird with a better texture than the one from the grocery store!
Turkeys raised in industrial settings are fed a diet of plant and animal by-products. The exact origin and content of their feed ingredients is often unknown, and in many cases, it is treated with antibiotics The goal of commercial poultry growth is rapid weight gain for quick-to-market processing. Industrial turkeys do not have access to the outdoors, sunshine, fresh air or the diverse food found when grazing. Additionally, their diets designed for rapid growth cause health issues (including cardiovascular disease and poor orthopedic health) and result in poor flavor and unsavory texture.
Processing of Red House Ranch turkeys (and all our meat) this is something we take very seriously. We are committed to humane slaughtering practices and cleanly process all our meat without additional preservatives or injections.
Industrially raised poultry is subject to some of the harshest slaughtering practices in the meat industry. And instead of simple processing and packaging, birds are injected with preservatives and sodium-packed fluid intended to enhance their flavor. When we eat turkey, we want the ingredients to be “turkey.” In a store-bought bird, you’ll find a myriad of additional ingredients including salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, natural flavor, and “spice.”
When it comes to nutrition facts, studies have shown that pasture-raised poultry provides a better balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is higher in B vitamins and key nutrients needed for prime health performance. Being raised on a naturally-sourced diet, Red House Ranch turkeys use the nutrition they gain from their diet and pass on all the benefits of the way they were raised to you when they become your meal.
With a diet consisting mainly of corn and soy, the nutritional benefit of eating mass produced birds is much lower. The stressors they encountered during their raising cause health issues that translate into diseases which can be passed on to the consumer. And the addition of preservatives and flavor injections take a natural product and turn it into a processed food. If you’re concerned about clean eating, mass-produced, store-bought turkeys might not be the best choice for you.
There is no compromise when it comes to knowing where your food is sourced from or the practices used in its raising and processing. Whether you’re cooking for a few or a crowd this Thanksgiving, a pasture-raised turkey is guaranteed to be the healthier, better tasting choice. As you settle in for your post-meal, tryptophan-induced nap, we hope you’re thankful for what we do for our turkeys (and for you!) at Red House Ranch!