K&B Liberty Farms

K&B Liberty Farms

Long before K&B Liberty Farms was created, its owners Kris and Brittney met while they were both on active duty for the US Army. Their first meeting lasted all of five minutes as they awaited deployment. Fortunately, they both ended up in Afghanistan and got to know each other quite a bit more. Working as pilots and flying helicopters, Kris and Brittney had a lot in common. After months of long distance, and I’m talking between Texas and Germany distance, they got married.

In the military, you spend a lot of time away from home and family. Because of this, Kris and Brittney knew they wanted to have a lifestyle in which they were both home and with family on a regular if not nearly constant basis. With Kris’ former work as a farm hand, they hatched an idea to begin a farm. Even as Brittney was still on active duty, they found a parcel of land in Indiana and bought it. This was the start of K&B Liberty Farms.

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Why the name K&B Liberty? Well, the initials for Kris and Brittney are obvious, but liberty has a deep meaning for this family. Having both served overseas, they had visited many countries that do not have the same level of freedom that we enjoy. There were many levels of freedom (or lack thereof), but Kris and Brittney agree that the United States possesses the highest level of freedom and liberty in the world. Being very patriotic people and having flown for Task Force Liberty, the name Liberty Farms was the clear choice.

After Brittney switched to the Army Reserves, K&B Liberty Farms was supposed to have a gradual growth starting with hay. This would be supplemented by the income of working as pilots on the civilian side of the aisle. Upon the discovery that the land had lain fallow too long, becoming covered with weeds, that plan had to be modified. Kris and Brittney wanted to be known from the very beginning as a farm that produced quality products, and hay grown in that soil would not make the cut.

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With research into regenerative agriculture, they planned for intensive pasture rotation between cows, goats, and chickens. The cows go first, mowing down much of the grass. Chickens follow with the goats cleaning up the weeds at the end. All the animals are pasture-raised with organic methods, no added hormones, and no chemicals used on the pastures.

The chicken’s set-up is intriguing and works incredibly well. The egg-layers have a wagon with roosting bars and nesting boxes in which they lay eggs and spend the night. During the day, the doors are open, and they remain outside to graze and eat bugs. They are surrounded by electric poultry netting to keep out ground predators. Cornish Cross broiler chickens require a little more care. They are in chicken tractors that are moved daily to give cleaner areas for nesting. These tractors are surrounded by the same electrified poultry netting as the egg-layers. Every fourth day, the poultry netting is moved to new pasture.

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At K&B Liberty Farms, they know that what is best for the animal is also best for you, for you truly are what you eat. Healthy animals provide the best nutrition. By the time their chicks are 3-4 weeks old (depending on weather), they are moved from the brooder to pasture. Being outside with natural food sources (and balanced chicken feed provided) keeps the broiler chickens healthy. At a farmer’s market, the organic produce stand may have prices 20 cents more than the others, but you must realize the higher amount of work needed to raise animals and grow food without relying on pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. That organic farmer is likely to have spent days picking bugs off plants by hand to keep from spraying them with potentially harmful chemicals. To keep Cornish Cross chickens outside, they had to be more closely watched. They are less tolerant of temperature changes, so they may require heat lamps when it is suddenly cold or fans when it is hot. During summer Kris and Brittney bring continuous fresh cold water for the broiler chickens, and they drive a 3-hour round trip to purchase organic non-GMO feed for them.

The philosophy at K&B Liberty Farms is that each animals deserves to live its best life and only have one bad day: its last. Even when weaning calves, they will put the weanlings with the yearlings, so they do not feel suddenly separated. The cows are moved to a pasture out of sight, and the only bawling comes from the yearlings who want to rejoin the rest of the herd. When two of the Cornish Cross chicks were too small at butcher time to be worth the butcher fee, they were kept home and continued living the good life. Liberty and Justice grew to be 20-25 pounds each and were the size of turkeys. You will not hear of that in many places because Cornish Cross chicks that are kept inside without exercise grow so quickly that their hearts and legs often cannot keep up with the demand placed upon them. However, the exercise with living a natural life kept these two birds healthy and strong.

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Kris and Brittney love being at home and working alongside their family. They hope that more small farmers and homesteaders will be able to get back to the old way of doing things. Being able to provide for your own family, even if it’s just a backyard garden (or balcony garden!) is satisfying, not to mention tasty.

All photos are credit: Brittney Hobt.

Originally published in the June/July 2022 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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