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Frequently Asked Questions

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How is "pastured" different from "free-range"?

Are there health benefits to eating pastured farm products?

How do you raise your broilers?

How do you raise your beef and lamb?

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Dr. Weston A. Price and what did he do that was so relevant for us today?

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Who was Dr. Weston A. Price?
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      Weston A. Price Photo                                            

 I became aware of Dr. Weston A. Price while doing research for a class on anatomy and physiology I was preparing for homeschoolers.     I spent hours on www.westonaprice.org.  I learned that Dr. Price was an American dentist in the early part of the twentieth century that noticed more and more of his patients coming to him with many cavities and crowded teeth.  He had a hunch these troubles were due to consuming foods of little nutrition. To test his hypothesis he came up with a brilliant scheme:  Instead of only looking “in his own backyard” to see whether or not a poor diet was responsible for these problems, he traveled the world looking for cultures that had few cavities and wide dental arches.  He then studied what these cultures were eating and recorded what he found.  He traveled from isolated Swiss valleys to islands off the Scottish coast, to Eskimos in Canada, to South Sea Islanders, to African natives to Peruvian Indians documenting their faces with photographs. He found that those peoples who ate their densely nutritious native foods properly prepared had near-perfect teeth and wide dental arches with room for all their teeth, while those cultures that partook of the foods of modern commerce such as white flour, sugar and jams demonstrated dental deformities and degenerative diseases.  The book that he wrote and illustrated with the photographs he took while on his trips is a classic: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  Once you have seen the book you will never forget those pictures. 

A friend and I have begun to teach seminars on the basic work of Dr. Price and demonstrate the food preparation techniques that he observed while he traveled.  It has been personally very rewarding.

 

            Most people intuitively know that there is something wrong with a system that does not restore health but manages disease.  Doctors continue to prescribe more and more medications for symptoms but very few are motivated to help the patient get down to the underlying cause, which is poor diet.  So many health industries are flourishing in the wake of so much illness, especially the pharmaceutical companies. I personally do not think our health care system will continue to support itself when there are not enough healthy people left to pay the health costs of those who are sick. 

 

Even worse, we hear of efforts to make it difficult for consumers to secure those traditional whole foods that can produce real health.  Raw milk is a perfect example of a basic traditional food that was available to everyone in this country up through the first half of the last century but is now denied to the majority of our population today. 

 

There are many testimonies of asthma and other health conditions being improved when unpasteurized milk is consumed.  Many heat sensitive vitamins and minerals are available in raw milk that are destroyed or made inaccessible when heat processed.  And today, the push in the food industry is to ultra-pasteurize milk so that is can sit on a shelf for years, but cannot support life and health.   See www.realmilk.com to see the research and ongoing efforts to make unpasteurized milk freely available again. 

 

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How is "Pastured" different from "Free Range"?
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          There is a vast difference between chickens that are “pastured” and those that are only “free-range”.   Chickens that are allowed to roam in a dirt yard can be said to be “free range” in that they are not confined to small wire cages or the interiors of a building away from fresh air and sunlight.  But having access to a small space such as that is not in the true spirit of “free range”. 

“Pastured chickens”, on the other hand, spend almost their entire life spans on grassy turf, most often protected in movable bottomless pens or electric netting enclosures so that they have direct access to the forage and insects that make up their natural diet. The chickens are usually “locked up” at night for added protection from predators, but at the first light of day are released to begin another day in the fresh outdoors.

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Are there health benefits to eating pastured farm products?
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          Everyone is healthier when he eats his greens, even our animals. When allowed free access to pasture, these animals will be healthier and receive their beta carotene, magnesium and other precious vitamins and minerals from their forage.  This diet translates into the healthier fats such as omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated lenoleic acids (CLA’s) found in pastured meats and dairy. When you eat grass-fed meats, eggs and milk products, you are getting the benefits of those essential fatty acids, especially when you include the fats from these unique products in your diet.

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How do you raise your broilers?
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It’s exciting when a new batch of chicks come out of our large incubator. Each one is plucked out of the trays and taken to the "brooder."   The brooder is a section of the barn equipped with heat and light where the chicks will spend their first few weeks until they can handle cooler temperatures. Special feed is allowed free choice to the young birds that does not contain added antibiotics or growth hormones. This feed is mixed and ground locally to our exacting specifications. 

 

Chickens on grass

When the chicks have adequately feathered out at two to three weeks of age, they are moved out to our chemical-free pastures. “Hoop houses” are used for protection from the extremes of Texas weather.  These are sturdy moveable structures can be opened at both ends that allow fresh breezes to move through.  A large area of flexible electric netting surrounds these structures to keep out predators. 

        After the chicks reach about 4 weeks of age, they are moved out to the open "sleds," about the size and shape of rectangular trampolines, that allow the chickens even more freedom outdoors yet give them shelter from rain and sun. The sleds are moved every day within the large electric netting fenced in area to give the birds a new resting place to get under for the night.  After about eight weeks of “the good life” the chickens are harvested in a humane manner in our own state-inspected poultry slaughter and processing facility located right here on the farm to USDA standards.

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How do you raise your beef and lamb?
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      We rotationally graze our cattle and sheep their entire lives.  This is achieved by dividing our large pastures into smaller paddocks with electric wire fencing. The animals then graze these paddocks consecutively.  When they “finish everything on their plate,” not just their favorite legumes, they are moved on to the next paddock. This technique allows the animals to graze the pastures evenly and in a more efficient manner.  The animals are not left in one area too long to overgraze it.

      And grass is the natural diet of cattle and sheep, not grain. Forcing these “herb-avores” to become exclusively “grain-avores” as in a feed-lot situation, changes the natural balance of their nutritional makeup, reversing the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

When the animals are free to roam the pasture, they are also happier, healthier and lacking the additives, antibiotics and growth hormones routinely given to crowded, confined feedlot animals.

          Since we have started rotational grazing, nitrogen-rich legumes, such as vetch and clover, have spread more widely over the pastures, naturally replacing the nitrogen in the soil.

                            There is a wealth of information on the many-fold benefits of pastured meats and dairy products.  A must-see web site dedicated to the dissemination of research on pastured farming’s effect on health, the environment, the farmer and animal welfare is www.eatwild.com. 

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Windy Meadows Family Farm
"The Natural Choice for the Best-Tasting Chicken"
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Disclaimer
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 The information on this web site is not intended to replace the advice of your health care provider, but to share thoughts and ideas gathered over several years of personal research.  Use them as food for your own thoughts and discuss their relevance with those on whom you call for medical advice.

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