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Not Your Average Bird

Cooks Venture is building a better food system for animals, the planet and people through regenerative agriculture. They breed and raise pasture-raised heirloom chickens in Northwest Arkansas in the beautiful, forested farmland and foothills of the Ozarks. 

The chickens are bred to thrive outside and spend their days on pasture and in forests, instinctively foraging, pecking for insects, dust bathing, and perching all day long, every day; how chickens are supposed to live. 

Their slow-growing breed, the Pioneer, has been carefully selected for maximum bird health. Unlike other breeds, the Pioneer grows more slowly, and has a much stronger frame that allows it to not only stand, but to run, flap, scratch, and peck throughout its entire life. Pioneer birds have more robust digestive systems, allowing them to forage on pastures and eat a wider variety of food. 


Pasture-Raised vs. Organic

Organic is a regulated USDA term and requires the chicken's feed to be grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and certified. There is not a space or type of living conditions requirement set by the USDA, so chickens can still be raised inside large warehouses or sheds without enrichments, natural light, or meaningful access to the outdoors. There are no guidelines around outdoor space, and chicken often do not venture to these small outdoor lots.

Free-range, another USDA term, means that the birds have access to the outdoors. However, it doesn’t mean that the birds go outside, or that the outdoor space is more than a small, fenced-in area; rather it implies that access exists.

Pasture-raised is also not regulated by the USDA and is not clearly defined.This is why third-party certifications are so important in our current food system!

Certified Humane & Global Animal Partnership are two third-party certifications thatCooks Venture has to receive in order to verify humane care of the chickens. These certifications ensure that birds are given adequate space minimums and environmental enrichments, and are never given antibiotics. Cooks Venture is GAP4 Certified and Certified Humane Pasture Raised, so you can feel confident that these birds are truly roaming the outdoors, enjoying the fresh air. 

Pasture-Raised is considered the gold standard. Pasture-Raised chickens live the majority of their lives in lush, vegetative pastures, and at night they sleep indoors to protect themselves from predators. Because they’re living a comfortable, diverse, and healthy lifestyle that nature intended, these birds develop juicier meat that is deeply flavored and more tender than conventional chicken. 

One Step Further

We sought out Cooks venture as our poultry partner because we are concerned with how our food is produced within today's industrial model. In seeking to build a better food system one meal at a time, Wildacre Rotisserie is committing to Version 1 of the Better Chicken Commitment. This means we will only source chickens certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP),  and require all chickens be processed in a manner that avoids live-dumping and live-shackling - instead utilizing a pre-shackle, multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system that's widely hailed as more humane. In partnering with Cooks Venture, we already meet four of the five tenets of the Better Chicken Commitment.