Chickens are a meat we have traditionally stayed away from both in restaurant and on the Butcher. We are wary of the commercial intensity of the industry. It's also very hard to source free range chickens from Scotland. However, when we set up our Butcher, we realised you really wanted chicken options. So we've worked hard to source birds that have been raised in a way we are comfortable with, and can now supply you with delicious higher welfare 100% free range chickens.
There is a caveat though - for now, they are English! As much as we would have liked everything to be from Scotland, we thought it was more important to work with the right produce.
Packington is a family run free-range Pig and Poultry farm based in Staffordshire, now operating for over 80 years on the same land. They stood out for us with their incredibly refreshing and forward thinking operation based on old fashioned farming techniques underpinned by passion, respect and excellence towards both the animal welfare and the ecosystems they inhabit. They have been awarded the Good Chicken Award from Compassion in World Farming.
The chicks arrive on the farm in small groups at one day old. They are housed in special sheds with plenty of warm bedding, heating and good ventilation for approx 3 weeks until they are strong enough to venture out. Once outside they are free to roam on the farm, meadows and in their sheds for shelter. They are taken in at night to protect them from predators such as foxes. The surrounding fields have grass margins around them to protect the hedgerows and encourage an environment for natural ecosystems to flourish. Seeds are sewn around their fields to grow plans that encourage wild bird species, insects and farmland birds. A harmonious ecosystem that supports not just the chickens but the surrounding wildlife.