Roast organic chicken from Sheepdrove farm, half price!

organic Sunday lunch with roast chicken from Sheepdrove

A Merrier World inspired this blog, to raise awareness for chickens. Poor things. Prisoners on a factory-production line, they have turned into commodities. An organic chicken seems expensive in comparison because it gets to lead an ordinary life.

A cheap chicken is cheap because it does not lead a normal existence. Bred to quickly gain weight, it is sometimes too heavy to walk, and, kept indoors in a noisy shed with 40,000 other birds, it is denied its natural behaviour such as feeling the sun on its back, perching or stretching its wings.

“Poor people must have cheap healthy protein,” say the chicken-factory defenders. Hello? Cheap chicken is not exactly healthy – it is full of fat, antibiotics and is a food-poisoning risk, which is why it must be cooked so carefully. A false economy, if I’ve ever heard one.

Here are ways to eat organic chicken on a budget. Buy a whole chicken and serve it as a once-a-week treat. Use its carcass for soup and leftovers for future meals. Serve it with a plateful of other goodies as I did yesterday (see the above pic with its Better Food organic salad leaves, carrots and potatoes, kamut grain and non-organic broccoli) so a little goes a long way.

My chicken came from the Sheepdrove organic farm butcher shop in Bristol, belonging to Sheepdrove organic farm in Berkshire. Master butcher, Graham Symes, picked one out for me. “See its beautiful heart shape?” he said. “That’s the way a chicken should look with the breast falling over the legs (see pic below).”

Instead of £18 for 2.6 kilos, it was half-price because of a current surplus. You can get your half-price beauties here. Hurry while stocks last!

Sheepdrove organic farm is owned and run by the kind and visionary Peter and Juliet Kindersley. Peter has put his publishing profits to a good cause, developing top animal welfare systems. My favourite Sheepdrove fact: their chickens peck at healing herbs to self-medicate. Chickens are clever creatures when allowed to be their natural chicken-selves.

The Kindersleys have recently developed a terrific new safe way of feather-plucking on its on-farm abattoir. Usually the feathers are loosened by dunking the dead birds in a bacteria-infested hot bath. The new Sheepdrove method of steaming could dramatically reduce the number of bacteria for non-organic and organic poultry alike.

Our chicken was delicious. “It tastes like chicken should taste,” said my sister who is a regular Sheepdrove shopper.

Here’s how to roast a (preferably happy) chicken: allow 20 minutes of cooking time for every pound/500 grammes – and then 20 minutes extra. I smeared the breast and legs with olive oil, rubbed in paprika and salt, and slithered slices of garlic under the skin. I simmered the giblets in wine and water for stock, and made gravy with this and the cooking pan’s juices, thickened with my new discovery: an ounce of rolled oats.

A tip for the absent-minded cook: do not put a chicken – in a plastic bag – in the oven to get to room temperature, then forget it’s there and switch the oven on. Getting melted plastic off a hot oven is no fun. Trust me.

Sheepdrove organic chicken

10 responses to “Roast organic chicken from Sheepdrove farm, half price!

  1. I have to say that the trend towards better quality chicken is to the good of all of us – and I include chickens in that. I was lucky enough to taste the chicken and it tasted how chickens have always tasted, until the last the forty years or so.


  2. I’ve melted plastic plates in the course of my flour experiments, but I have to say I hope never to melt the plastic on a chicken! Your Sheepdrove chicken sounds wonderful – thanks for taking part in ‘Let them Eat Chicken’.


  3. Organic food always tastes better, no doubt about it. It’s also a lot better for you as well – it’s worrying how little we know about the health effects of some of the hormones and supplements most animals get fed. Check out for some useful facts about organic stuff in general.


  4. I balance eating organic or free range chicken with eating sausages (£2.50 will buy a very decent meal for 3). The taste is incomparable, and I hate the thought of tampered with unhappy food that is the battery chicken. You don’t need to do much to good tasting food, or eat so much of it, it is so satifying.


  5. What the hell have chicken and sausages got to do with each other?!


  6. Very thought provoking and interesting. I was totally with HFW when he started the campaign for better chicken. My tips is to never use breast meat. It’s expensive and devoid of any flavour. Quality chicken drumsticks or thighs are a much better, and more cost effective way forward. Or a whole chicken as you’ve quite rightly said.


  7. Pingback: Let Them Eat Chicken: The Round-Up « A Merrier World

  8. Oh dear. Chicken in ANY form is acidic, not alkaline. Since roast chicken is ingrained in my childhood food memories, this represents quite the loss for someone on an all-alkaline diet (or trying to be).


  9. Pingback: Antibiotics in farming create superbugs like MRSA « Sheepdrove’s Weblog

  10. Pingback: Highly Recommended « Sheepdrove’s Weblog

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