Well, it's official. Giving your cows names can increase their milk yield. I’ve just read in The London Times that scientists at the University of Newcastle in the UK were awarded one of this year’s Ig Nobel Prizes for finding out that cows who are given names produced a higher milk yield than those who weren't. I laughed, too. But then it got me thinking. You see, while the Ig Noble Prize ceremony is all rather tongue in cheek, there is a serious side; the prizes are awarded to research achievements that "first make people LAUGH then make them THINK." While this research might seem a little ridiculous, it was actually a serious study into cow welfare.
Greg and Robyn Sazonov raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens at The Happy Rooster Farm, LLC, in Pilot, Virginia.
Greg and Robyn began farming to provide food for their family, but the farm operation gradually grew in size and they now sell Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW eggs to the local community. They rotate their chickens across 20 rolling acres of pasture and hay fields as a part of their sustainable pasture management plan, avoiding the build up of potential pests and diseases as well as naturally fertilizing the soil. “We move the chickens regularly across our fields using electric netting and wire, which also helps keep them safe from predators,” explains Greg, as he discusses the important role his pasture-raised flock plays on the farm. “The birds help to keep bugs at bay and help to control weeds, as well as leaving behind manure for following crops.” Research shows that pasture-based management is better for animal welfare, better for the environment, and better for human health. “All of the feed given to our chickens is non-GMO, with organic produce to supplement when available,” says Greg.
The Sazonovs have a clear philosophy about the importance of sustainable land management and the high-welfare practices they employ at The Happy Rooster Farm; “Nothing is produced here that we wouldn’t serve our children or ourselves. Our animals are cared for by us and we visit them throughout each day.” Greg and Robyn’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification further exemplifies them as stewards of the land. They cite AGW’s technical support and the organization’s credibility as key reasons for certifying their chickens.
The Happy Rooster Farm’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW eggs are available directly from the farm in Pilot, or at regular drop off points in nearby Christiansburg, VA. Check the AGW directory for details. For more information on The Happy Rooster Farm visit the farm’s Facebook page.