The Sunworks Blog

Summer Special, Jumbo Dogs for $5!

To celebrate summers arrival, we are putting our Chicken Jumbo Dog’s on special for $5.00 per package all summer long! Regularly $8 per package. These hot dogs are perfect for roasting over a campfire or on the BBQ. They are pre-cooked and a great addition to your summer menu. Like everything we make, the Jumbo Dogs are made of all organic ingredients and contain just our chicken meat and organic spices. No gluten, egg, dairy or nuts. No nitrates, sulphates, or cultured plant extracts. No sugar or corn syrup. Just simple ingredients naturally smoked. This is a hot dog you can feel good about feeding the kids and eating yourself!

These will be available at all of our own locations and will be $5.00 per package all of July and August.

Available at Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market in Edmonton, The Market on Macleod in Calgary, Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market, St. Albert Farmers’ Market, Vinesation Olive Oils and Vinegars in Camrose and Our Meat Shop on Whyte Ave (located within the Blush Lane Store

BCSPCA Certified

Yesterday we received our BCSPCA humane certificate in the mail. We have been certified by the BCSPCA since 2005 and are committed to raising our animals in a humane, respectful and dignified manner. By being SPCA certified we are inviting the BCSPCA, a third-party auditor, to come out to our farm every year. During this audit, they inspect our animals and their environment to ensure their living conditions meet or exceed the BCSPCA standard. By being BCSPCA certified, you as a consumer know the high standard we are following and can have the confidence that our animals are raised humanely. We feel that this is an important partnership that works together for the good of the animals.

Our chickens are certified organic and certified humane through the BCSPCA. We receive our chicks when they are only hours old and are placed in a warm barn that has lots of fresh natural wood shavings on the floor to keep them clean and dry. They are provided with uncrowded access to clean water and certified organic feed. They are given lots of room to move around and express their natural behaviors. All of our barns have lots of windows to let in the natural light. In the spring, summer and early fall the birds will stay in the barn until they are feathered out enough to go outside. Once outside they are placed in movable shelters that are moved everyday onto fresh grass. They are provided with fresh clean water and certified organic feed.

In the late fall, winter and early spring the birds will stay in the warm barn, so that they are protected from Alberta’s cold and unpredictable winter weather. We make sure that the birds raised in the barns in the winter are not crowded and have lots of room to move around. These birds are also certified humanely raised by the BCSPCA

When our chickens are ready to be processed they are gently loaded into crates. We do not put as many chickens into the crates as the manufacturer recommends and have decided to use more crates to prevent the birds from becoming too crowded.  We do not hire any contractors to load our birds. They are loaded by our own staff and supervised by us. Once they are placed into the crates, they are taken on a trailer to our on-farm processing plant, which is a very short trip across the farm yard and then placed in a climate controlled room overnight to protect them from the elements.  First thing in the morning they are processed in our own processing plant.

If you would like to see how we raise our birds, please come out to our annual Family Farm Day on Labor Day Monday in September. The day starts with a BBQ lunch provided by us, followed by a question and answer session and a tour of the farm. Here you will get to see both our winter and summer production. You will get to meet your farmers, ask them questions and see how we raise our chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, laying hens and cattle. This year it will be on Sept 4 and we will begin taking registrations at the beginning of August.

We raise happy, healthy animals. We are proud to say we are BCSPCA Certified Humane and Certified Organic.

Your Farmers

Ron, Sheila and Isaac

The St. Albert Farmers’ Market Starts This Saturday June 10!

Once again we will be back at the St. Albert Farmers Market every Saturday selling our certified organic beef, chicken, sausages and deli meats from 10am to 3pm. The market is open rain, shine or snow from June 10 to October 7th and is located on St. Anne Street, some of St. Thomas Street, and on the newly constructed St. Anne Street Promenade. Our stall has been moved this year to a new location within the market. We are now located in stalls 37, 39, 41.

Come and get to know Ron, your farmer , sample some of our wonderful sausages, pickup your meat for the week and wander through a market filled with great vendors.

For more information about this market including, maps, parking, park your parcel, and park & ride information please visit their website

Introducing Ginger Sunrise Chicken Sausage

Thank you to everyone who submitted such great name suggestions for our “Name our New Flavour of Sausage” contest. We received hundreds of entries, with lots of really good suggestions! After going through all the names, we have decided that the new sausage will be called Ginger Sunrise. This name was suggested by 9 year old Matthew at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market and he will be receiving a gift certificate for 10 packages of our sausages. We contacted Matthew this morning and we would like to say congratulations Matthew!

Temporarily called “Sunworks Special” This sausage will be available at all of our own locations.

Raising Chickens Outside

The chickens and hens are already outside and soon the turkeys, ducks and geese will join them. They will all be outside enjoying the sunshine, fresh air and green grass.

There are a lot of family farms in Alberta that are committed to raising chickens outside and have adapted to the challenges that come with raising chickens outdoors. These farmers believe that chickens are meant to be outside and do better when allowed to access the fresh air, green grass, bugs, grubs, dirt and sunshine. Our goal is to raise birds humanely outdoors and we have spent many years refining our model of raising pastured poultry. It is possible to raise birds outdoors but it is a continual learning curve. Recognizing then analyzing the challenges, creating a solution, learning and moving forward is the only way you can approach farming. We teach our family and staff to recognize the challenges and take appropriate actions.

We are now going into our 21st year of raising chickens outdoors in moveable chicken shelters. We are now on our 5th version of chicken shelters and the shelters we now have work very well but we’re always looking at making improvements. We now use a shelter and range combination that is 48 ft. long by 15 ft. wide by 6 ft. 3 inches high. We use metal roofs over our shelter and range to keep the rain and direct sun off of the birds and also protect them from aerial predators. The walls of the range area of the shelter is covered with 2 inch stucco wire and the shelter area has plywood walls. The shelter is also heavy and

Excessive rain and extreme heat challenge us the most. When we have excessive rain (like last Wednesday) we dam the sides of the shelters with natural wood shavings to keep water from flowing into the shelters and then spread shavings on the ground to keep the birds up off any wet ground. If the rain is very heavy or the wet weather persists for many days we don’t move the shelters and keep placing more shavings on the ground to keep the birds comfy and dry. In extreme heat (above 32 to 34 degrees C) we mist our birds with water every couple of hours to keep them cool. This gets the birds moving and keeps them active. We will also move the chicken shelter a second time in the afternoon so the grass and ground will help keep them cool. The plywood walls on the shelter helps keep the direct sun off of the chickens so there isn’t any thermal warming. When we first made this version of the chicken shelters we had used corrugated plastic on the walls but found that we were making a greenhouse and it was very hot. The shelter has a screen door on the front and the range part is wide open so any wind will create a vacuum and pull the hot air out of the shelter. If the forecast is for +35 degree weather, we have to be prepared and have a game plan including making sure all of our equipment is ready.

The water supply for our shelters is on a pressure pump and is supplied from our dugout with a pasture pipeline system. Many producers still haul water which is very time consuming and labor intensive. For feed we use 50 lb. tube feeders that are filled manually daily. Feed is brought to the field with our tractor and feed wagon.

We move the shelters ahead every day with our small tractor to save labor. They are moved slowly so the birds can move along with the shelter.

We are a predator friendly farm so we protect our poultry flocks by using an electric netting around our shelters. The predators that we have on our land have been trained to respect the electric netting. Because of the use of this electric netting fence and our shelters and ranges having mesh sides and a solid roof we have not had any problems with both ground and aerial predators for many years.

We have a very unique way of raising poultry and we feel that chickens raised outdoors in the sunshine have a happier life living on green grass, eating free choice grains and having the odd grasshopper as dessert.

Thanks for supporting us and our outdoor happy chicken farm.

Ron, Sheila and Isaac