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Southampton Homestead Pasture Raised Chicken

Southampton Homestead is owned by Jeff Pow and Michelle McManus. They are a small family farm (120 acres) producing pasture-raised chickens using regenerative practices in Balingup, Western Australia.

The Southampton story is one of boldness, resilience and hope. Jeff purchased the property in 2006, and began the hard and painfully slow process of restoring the soils and grasses from pine plantation back to perennial pastures and transforming the land to a regenerative, working farm.

In 2013 a devastating fire ruined much of the farm, but through sheer determination Jeff commenced the rebuilding process almost immediately with the help of neighbours, friends and sometimes strangers. Sheds, fences, water and infrastructure were rebuilt, and the pastures were re-seeded immediately with a cocktail of perennial grasses. The business commenced trading in 2014.

Farming practises
Southampton chicken is produced using regenerative, ecological, ethical and stress-free farming methods – right from paddock to plate. This approach gives the chickens the highest quality of life and allows them to fully express health in their physiology.
Jeff & Michelle nurture their chickens from day olds all the way through to harvest and processing. The chicks are raised in a safe brooder in the shed until they have grown their feathers and are old enough to sleep outside in their moveable tractors. They are then moved daily onto fresh, biodiverse pasture, until their final day when Jeff and Michelle harvest the birds by hand in a custom-built poultry micro-abattoir on the farm.

Chickens and ducks on Southampton Farm follow a herd of grazing cows – a practice known as Holistic Management. Holistic Management is one of the key practises of regenerative agriculture. It mimics natural processes and systems and uses controlled grazing by animals to build soil health and grow pasture. This allows the pastures to stay chemical and input-free. The birds’ diet includes insects, soil, diverse perennial pasture and sunshine. The birds' pasture based diet is also supplemented with a fermented feed, a mixture of oats, barley, wheat and lupins, which helps to nourish their gut bacteria and provide the protein level required for healthy poultry growth. This feed has no antibiotics, hormones, soy, or canola, reducing the risk of GMO contamination.

Southampton Homestead has a rich history, from its long but sadly little-known Indigenous history, to its pioneering role in the Blackwood Valley district. The farm has been restored and regenerated twice, and is now WA’s first truly pasture-raised poultry enterprise, with the ultimate goal to build soil, the very basis of life.

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