Jenny Stanton with daughters Grace, Annabelle and Matilda.
Primal Harvest Kangaroo Island is off to a flying start! Jenny and Will Stanton are raising Pasture Raised on Open Fields (PROOF) certified pasture-raised chicken at their Stokes Bay farm and their first harvest of 165 birds in late April was sold in a flash, simply through a Facebook post.
The birds are fed a variety of grains from the Stanton farm and another Island grower. They grow to two or three weeks old in the shed and then are released gradually to the paddocks to acclimatise to the sun, wind, rain and shadows, where they can forage to supplement their feed.
Their dome shelter is moved daily around the paddock so they always have clean lodgings, and an electrified fence protects them from goannas and cats in those early weeks.
Jenny says the dressed birds – which topped out at 4kg – have been described as “magnificent” by the team at Kapowie – the state’s only chicken abattoir, at Kapunda.
“We transported the chickens on the last ferry at night when they were sleeping, to reduce stress to the animals. They were processed next morning and all that meat came back to the Island and was sold, save for some breast meat which has been frozen.”
Val Ordway, of the former Ordway’s Kangaroo Island Poultry, has been providing advice and sharing her experience with Will and Jenny, who made a sudden decision to launch into free-range chicken meat in March, after years of pondering the proposition.
“It’s all been ‘just-in-time’ and we are still on the steep edge of the learning curve but its all beginning to fall into place now,” Jenny says. “Sometimes you just have to jump into these things or you just never do it.”
Primal Harvest KI will have its second harvest next week and has asked its customers to go online and register their email address for when orders open on Saturday. Customers will be able to pick up their meat from three drop-off points – Davo’s Deli in Parndana, Kangaroo Island Organics in Kingscote or at the farmgate 4995 North Coast Road.
Lighthouse Café, Rockpool Café, Oceanview Eco-Villas and Emu Ridge Eucalyptus had a taste of the last harvest and are keen for more, along with Cactus in Kingscote and other eateries that are just hearing about the product.
For now, Jenny is happy to build the systems and processes to streamline the business over winter but in a year she hopes Kangaroo Island chicken will be on the menus of restaurants around the Island and on the mainland.