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RBR News | May 16, 2014

Posted in Ranch Report

Around the Ranch
There’s an old Colorado saying that goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes,” and that has been true this past week. We observed temperatures in the high 70’s last week, shortly followed by several inches of rain, two inches of snow, and low’s in the 20’s earlier this week. The dramatic change in the weather is handled pretty well by most of the animals on the farm and the hoophouse gives the vegetables lots of protection from swings like this. 

On Monday, an auditor visited us from Animal Welfare Approved (AWA). AWA is certification for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. This 3rd party certification comes to our property at least once a year to ensure that our animals are raised at or above their standards.

During the audit we inspect every aspect of our livestock operation from birth to slaughter. This includes making sure the animals have continuous access to pasture, proper shelter requirements, quality feed, humane harvest, and many other areas of interest. For the complete list of standards (27+ pages for each species!), feel free to visit the following links for: pigs, meat chickens, and laying hens

Just to give you an idea of some of the more detailed portion of the audit, each laying hen on the property must have the following:
•    Continuous access to at least four square feet of pasture;
•    Seven inches aerial perch;
•    1.8 square feet of covered space; and
•    One nest box per five birds.

So, for our group of 135 laying hens, we are required to have at least 540 square feet of healthy pasture, 79 feet of perch space, 243 square feet of shelter, and 27 nest boxes.  We exceed all of these requirements with 20,000 sq ft paddocks (moved to new areas every other day), 112 ft of perch space, 288 sq ft of shelter, and 36 nest boxes.

Animal Welfare Approved is a nationwide certification and Rock Bottom Ranch is one of only 10 farms currently certified in Colorado. Click here for more information about Animal Welfare Approved. 

Available Products
RBR’s pastured hens are still laying lots of fresh eggs! Pasture-raised, Animal Welfare Approved, non-GMO, chicken and duck eggs are available for purchase at the Ranch Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM, and Saturday from 9AM-1PM.

~ Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director

Join us for Farm Tours Monday – Saturday at 11AM.  For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.