The key to all of this is that we take many steps to ensure our animals stay healthy from the start.
This is why we have to limit access to some areas of the farm.
Meat chickens are the most likely of the animals we raise to get sick — I’m sure we can all remember hearing about cases of Avian Influenza in the Fraser Valley. Bird diseases travel very easily on the bottom of our shoes and the tires of our vehicles, which is why it’s very important to be sure those who visit our farm and come into contact with our chickens haven’t been in contact with other poultry farms. And, if they have, the appropriate biosecurity steps are taken to minimize the risk to our flock.
With Big Jay being a third generation farmer, biosecurity has been ingrained in him since a very young age, and in turn he’s always quick to remind me of how important it is for our birds. As safe as we know our farm is, we can’t be sure that other farms are disease free.
Aside from biosecurity to protect our flock, we also take natural steps to boost their immune systems. When our chicks first arrive they’re given a natural electrolyte formula added to their water to help reduce stress and strengthen their systems.
But, what happens when one of our animals gets sick?
We are asked this question often and while we pride ourselves on not selling products where medications have been used, I will never allow one of our animals to suffer simply so we can stand behind our claims.
When administering medication to animals there’s what is call a ‘withdrawal period’, the length of time it takes for the medication to get out of the animal’s system before it can be processed and its meat sold to the public. All farmers who administer medications need to follow the withdrawal period and much of the meat in your local grocer has come from an animal that at one point received vaccinations.
Now with all this said, I still stand behind the products we sell and can assure you that our products are non-medicated.
Last year, one of our pigs Rango, began showing symptoms of Swine Erysipelas or in farm terms Diamond Disease which is caused by a bacteria that’s found in the tonsils of 50% of farm animals. This is most common in animals who sleep in straw bedding which we provide for our animals — No hard slatted beds on our farm!
So began treatment with penicillin and within days Rango was back to his playful-self bugging his sisters.
Following his treatment and the safe withdrawal period, although his meat was 100% safe, we decided not to sell his pork. We kept some for our family and under our partnership with Sources Food Bank over 150lbs of quality pasture-raised pork went to families in need in our community.
I’m happy to report that after almost two years of farming this is the first and only time we’ve run into a health concern with one of our animals that needed treatment. It’s the preventative measures we take that make all the difference.
Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms