We raise our heritage birds with old-world care and tradition on our small family farms using our "never EVER" standards of purity — no antibiotics, no added hormones, no growth stimulants, and no animal by-products in feed. Then, we go beyond that.
In our quest to produce the best tasting chicken in the world, and after researching various chicken programs, we decided to focus on the Label Rouge program in France. This program, started by the French government in 1960, requires very specific slow-growing genetics that have been qualified through taste and other sensory evaluations to be significantly superior to other products in the marketplace. The program also has very specific growing and processing requirements that are much more stringent than any other program in the world. For example, in addition to the specific genetics, there are requirements for maximum density, housing conditions, feed ingredients, minimum growing times, flock size, pasture access, sanitation downtime, transport times, and processing with air-chilling. These requirements are verified by an independent certifier in France (see websites below).
Established by the French government to preserve heritage breeds of animals, old-world farming and artisanal methods, the Label Rouge guidelines guarantee poultry production that is respectful of animal welfare, protects the environment, and produces a superior level of culinary quality.
Only certain genetics are allowed. Slow-growing breeds tend to be heartier and more disease resistant for pasture-centered life than commercial breeds.
Smaller poultry houses are required than on industrial or organic farms, and houses per farm are limited to four. This assures the care and attention of being raised by small farmers.
Birds are given outdoor access at six weeks of age (around the same age that commercial and organic birds reach market weight).
Birds are grown a minimum of 75 days (our Poulet Rouge™ chickens grow for 84 days), much longer than commercial birds that grow for only 42 days.
A maximum density requirement ensures that the birds are allowed more room in the houses than birds on industrial or organic farms.
A minimum sanitation period of 21 days between flocks assures houses are free of disease.
To make sure the birds are handled humanely and not dehydrated, they must travel no more than 64 miles to the processing plant.
Birds are processed individually by hand and air chilled, so they are never submerged in chlorinated water.