Joyce Farms is proud to be the exclusive North American producer of what elite chefs consider to be the best tasting chicken in the world - our Heritage Poulet Rouge® Chicken.
Our Poulet Rouge Fermier® brand chicken, better known simply as Poulet Rouge® chicken is a "Cou Nu," or naked neck chicken. Ron Joyce personally selected this bird in 2003 from the prestigious French Label Rouge Program while visiting France to study the country's elite poultry industry and find the best-tasting chicken in the world. He coined the name "Poulet Rouge Fermier" for this new bird that he would grow in the United States. The name, not otherwise known in France, is therefore unique to America as the country's first and only authentic genetic line from the Label Rouge Program, grown according to some of the same standards used in the Label Rouge program.
We made the decision to import Label Rouge chicken genetics and grow and process these birds as closely as possible to Label Rouge standards. We selected a naked neck breed known in France as “Le Poulet Jaune”, due to its yellow beak and feet, and regarded by many in France to be the best of the Label Rouge breeds.
We branded our chicken for use in the U.S. as Poulet Rouge, to reflect these elements of the product, including the breed and our proprietary growing and processing standards, which includes a selection of the standards used in the French Label Rouge program.
Our Poulet Rouge chicken has superior taste, better meat texture and thin skin that finishes very crispy compared to most chickens. It is a hearty bird, known for its natural good health, and we hand pick only the best birds for market, at standards higher than USDA grade A.
Meat from the Poulet Rouge chicken is slightly darker than most chickens. This is the result of its distinctive heritage genetics, as well as pasture-raising practices that encourage normal chicken activity such as running, pecking, and scratching.
Our Heritage Poulet Rouge Chickens grow on small family farms in North Carolina where they are raised using our "never EVER" standards of purity. They are fed a wholesome diet of primarily corn and soy with no animal by-products. The feed is supplemented with vitamins and minerals that are needed to sustain good animal health, and is laboratory tested to be free of antibiotics, pesticides, and chemicals. They are slow growing and are processed at an age of 84 days. Per the selection of Label Rouge growing standards that we abide by from Europe for our Heritage Chickens, the birds must be raised to a minimum age of 81 days.
We use a some of the same standards used in French Label Rouge program to raise our Poulet Rouge Chickens. Our selection of Label Rouge raising standards includes:
Only certain genetics are allowed. Slow-growing breeds tend to be heartier and more disease resistant for free range life than commercial breeds.
Smaller poultry houses are required than in industrial farms, and houses per farm are limited to four.
Birds move to open pasture at six weeks of age (around the same age that commercial and organic birds reach market weight).
Our Poulet Rouge® chickens grow for 84 days, much longer than commercial birds that grow for only 42 days.
A maximum density requirement ensures birds are allowed more room in the houses than birds on industrial or organic farms.
A minimum sanitation period of 21 days between flocks ensures houses are always clean and healthy environments for the birds.
To make sure 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. They are never submerged in chlorinated water.