Yarrah products contain organic turkey and organic chicken meat. As well as having an organic quality mark, as a producer we consider it important to see for ourselves that the meat we process in our products does actually come from organic turkeys and chickens, and that such animals had in fact a good life. For that reason, Quality Manager Arthur visited a German turkey and chicken farm, as well as a processing plant for organic turkeys, in early September.
Chicken in dog and cat food
Yarrah is using a fair amount of chicken in its products; more than any other types of meat. Chicken is a more sustainable choice than, for example, beef. Approximately three kilograms of feed is required to produce one kg of chicken, while on average 5 to 6 kg is required to produce one kg of beef (this does not apply to animals that are entirely fed on grass, like the ones that Yarrah imports from Uruguay). Dogs and cats love chicken meat. This, on top of the high quality of other ingredients in our products, guarantees the good acceptance.
Organic chicken farm
The organic chicken farm is Arthur’s first stop. Here, they are working with the slow-growing broiler chicken breed JA757. The farm consists of an indoor area with outdoor access and a ‘winter garden’, as the covered outdoor area is called. This allows the chickens to freely move inside and outside the sheds. The farm has two sheds, measuring 600 sq.m. each. Outside, each chicken has an average space of about 4 sq.m. In all, there are about 9600 chickens, with hens and roosters in equal numbers. As he makes his call, Arthur also checks the feed source. The chicken feed is produced by the farmer himself and is one hundred percent organic, with half of the ingredients bought locally.
Organic turkey farm
Arthur visits the organic turkey farm specialised in the old English ‘Black Auburn’ breed. Like in case of the chickens, this is a slow-growing breed with toms and hens sharing the space. Around 5000 animals in all. The farmer operates two sheds measuring 1300 sq.m. each. As well as an inside area, the farm has outside access and a covered outside area. Outside, turkeys have about 10 sq.m. each to move around. Here, too, the feed source is checked; this is entirely organic. Like the chicken farmer, the turkey farmer produces the feed himself, using 50% local, organic ingredients.
Though they may have had a better and longer life, eventually the chickens and turkeys will end up on somebody’s plate. The chicken and turkey farm Arthur visits has the killing done by third parties, since the owners have an insufficient number of animals to warrant their own processing plant. Chickens are killed when they are 70 days old. This is almost twice as long as the mass-produced, fastest growing breeds of broiler chickens. The turkeys are killed when they are 140 days (hens) or 154 days (toms) old. It is essential to make the trip to the processing plant as stress-free and quickly as possible. That is the reason why Arthur checks that the trip to the processing plant remains within the 3-hour limit. This is in order. Transport of the chickens takes only one hour.
Before further processing, the chicken and turkey meat is analysed for traces of genetically modified soya. The meat of organically bred chickens and turkeys that come from the farms visited is guaranteed GMO-free.
A successful quality check
After visiting the organic chicken farm, the organic turkey farm and the processing plant, Arthur is able to complete the inspection to his fullest satisfaction. The chickens and turkeys appear to be healthy, they have plenty of space to move, and the animals are taken to the processing plant as stress-free as possible. All activities are carried out in accordance with the organic guidelines. A successful visit!