What Does Vertical Integration Have to Do with Eggs?
November 6, 2020
Being one of the few vertically integrated egg producers of 100% Free Range and Pasture Raised eggs, is a huge deal to us at Blue Sky Family Farms. Vertical integration means we own our hens and can make decisions to ensure they are living their best possible lives. From the time the chicks hatch to their retirement, we care for our hens 24/7. We own the barns, the pastures, and provide them with a high-quality life, filled with fresh air, lots of space, and yummy food.
Blue Sky Family Farms has taken the time to perfect our practices and understand what is best suited for our hens. Our food, barns, and pastures have been our primary focuses throughout our journey to become the chicken experts. Learn about how we focus on our chicken’s well-being through our vertically integrated systems.
Develop Nutritional Feed in our Own Feed Mills
At Blue Sky Family Farms we understand our chickens are only as healthy as what they eat! To guarantee the quality and nutritional integrity of the diets we provide, we mix proprietary blends of organic and non-GMO feed in our feed mill.
These blends can contain corn, soybean (typically a combination of soybeans and meal), wheat (season), limestone, vitamins, and salt. Our soy-free line has a different non-GMO blend consisting of corn, canola meal, minerals, salt, vitamins, lysine, ronozyme, econase, and fishmeal.
But it doesn’t stop there. Three to four percent of our hens’ diet is also made up of foraging in the fields, one of their natural behaviors, which allows them to express their curiosity and exhibit freedom. Providing our birds the ability to engage in all of their natural behaviors is extremely important to us, which is why our barns are specifically tailored to promote this.
Build state-of-the-art barns based on what our chickens like best
Humans design their homes to be functionally aligned with their daily lives. Blue Sky Family Farms has done the same for our chickens. Our state-of-the-art barns have been constructed to encourage our birds’ natural behaviors such as perching, scratching, socializing, dust bathing, and pasturing, which result in the best quality eggs.
After many trials and errors, we have crafted a barn design that provides the freedom to access the pasture and perching areas, which is essential to the well-being of our ladies. Other details on the barn, such as door shape, are also taken into consideration to provide an environment for our birds to thrive and live out their days comfortably.
Provide green pastures under blue skies, to encourage foraging
When our birds aren’t enjoying their indoor shelter, they enjoy wandering onto our green pastures under blue skies for endless foraging. Allowing the birds to roam as they please and engage in their favorite activities, greatly deepens their quality of life.
Since foraging is such an important part of our ladies’ lives, we wanted to ensure they have the best pastures possible. This is why Blue Sky Family Farms has implemented innovative regenerative farming practices across all of our farms, to help combat climate change. Being vertically integrated offers the opportunity for us to make these choices that are beneficial to our hens, people, and the planet. With a healthier, more diverse pasture, we provide our chickens with more land to explore and forage on.
What Is Regenerative Agriculture?
Simply put, regenerative agriculture focuses on restoring the soil to its most natural form and creating a symbiotic relationship between chickens and the environment. With our oversight of every pasture, our farmers can implement and execute practices based on our four pillars of sustainable protocol: promote higher biodiversity; eliminate all synthetics on farms; construct multi-tier vegetation on pastures and utilize ground covers. We also measure our progress based on critical organic soil matter, mineral diversity, microorganism diversity, and carbon capture, all of which help ensure our pastures are the best they can be.
As you can see, at Blue Sky Family Farms no measure is too big or too small when it comes to caring for our ladies. Creating a successful environment leads to happier and healthier chickens, and ultimately, the best eggs for you.