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Tyler and Amanda Gordon raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) laying hens and pigs outdoors on pasture at Gordon Family Farm in Roachdale, Indiana.
Tyler grew up on a farm, raising hogs conventionally in confinement. After he finished college, he grew bored with his average work day and decided to raise a few hens in his spare time. He and Amanda were married in 2011 and, over the years, their flock of hens grew steadily to 700 birds. By the end of 2015, the couple was supplying eggs to local restaurants and stores.
In 2016, the Gordons welcomed their son, Briggs, and had to make a decision about where to take the business to support their growing family. They decided to grow the business, pursuing summer farmers’ markets alongside their current marketing channels, and applying for Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification for their growing flock of 1,000 pasture-raised Golden Comet laying hens.
The Gordons believe that high welfare, pasture-based management is good for the animals—and good for their customers. “A happy, stress-free bird will always produce well,” Tyler explains. “We run our hens in two 500-bird groups and closely monitor their feed on pasture, changing the protein levels or fat levels in the feed 5-6 times a year according to their needs.” In addition to pasture, both groups of birds have access to a large building where they can lay and roost. Before transitioning to a pasture-based operation (and certifying with AGW), the Gordons raised their birds indoors in a barn system. Tyler and Amanda are already seeing the benefits of pasture-based management first hand: “After moving to a pasture-based system we soon noticed how much calmer and happier the birds were,” Tyler adds. “We’re also hoping for lower feed costs once the grasses become fully established and the birds obtain more of their diet from the vegetation, worms and insects in the pastures.”
The Gordons strive to produce a high-quality product, and their Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW eggs are available to local restaurants and wholesalers, as well as selling direct at seasonal farmers’ markets. Tyler and Amanda decided to pursue Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification to become more competitive in their local market. “Because we don’t have any big cities close by, we were supplying most of our eggs to local restaurants with a low profit margin,” Tyler explains. “Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification is expanding the market opportunities available to us by putting our eggs a step above the competition, helping us get into bigger and higher-end restaurants.”
The Gordons also raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW Berkshire pigs. In the future, they look forward to continuing to improve and expand their pastures to grow their flock of laying hens.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised eggs and pork from Gordon Family Farm are available at local stores, restaurants and farmers’ markets. For more information, visit out online directory and follow Gordon Family Farm on Facebook.