Interview with Quico

Quico started like us with a common project, and so began a long friendship that has been going on for 8 years now. In this interview, he explains how he started his farm and how he is preparing a unique future project of sustainability. With a clear vision about the importance of well cared for animals, life in the countryside and freedom. Join us to explore the daily life of Quico and his farm in this inspiring interview.

Quico, Tell us about your farm

This is a free-range chicken farm, where we raise the chickens from day one and fatten them until they are three and a half months old. The feeding of the animals is completely natural, based on feed and grain. The grain used includes corn, oats and wheat, which complement the feed of the free-range chicken.

What are the processes at your farm?

We obtain the chicks on the day of hatching and place them in special houses where they spend the first 15 days. During this period, they receive gas-fed heat. After the first 15 days, they are moved to a covered area where they continue their fattening process. At 5 weeks, they remain indoors, and for the next 5 weeks, they are allowed to be outdoors with the other animals. However, they remain in the system until 13 to 15 weeks, which is approximately the age at which the animal is slaughtered.

This chicken is of the Olave El Ruix variety, a slower growing breed. It differs from the industrial white chicken in several aspects, starting with the color of the skin. The industrial white chicken generally takes 40 to 50 days to reach slaughter size, while this chicken here is slower growing.

In fact, it is considerably slower. In three and a half months, it reaches a weight of three and a half kilos. Three kilos and seven hundred grams is the weight this animal reaches in this time, while in the industrial chicken it reaches a similar weight in less time.

What is the difference between your chickens and industrially produced chickens?

Here is what you see. Since the animal is outside, it is sunbathing and eating grass. This means that these are all added values that it has. It is not the same that it is enclosed, in a place where they do not have the possibility to enjoy large yards where it can move freely and be respected.

How would you describe the taste and texture of your chicken compared to other similar products on the market? What cooking methods do you recommend for preparing your chicken and why?

This chicken has an authentic chicken flavor. It is a chicken with good fat infiltration due to the cereal we provide, which makes it very juicy. It can be enjoyed from grilled to braised, and it is very tender. It is a chicken of great tenderness and the truth is that it is very tasty.

What is your relationship with Pirineu en Boca? How did it all start?

My relationship with the Pyrenees in Boca began when they were looking for producers in the area. Because we had some knowledge in common, they contacted me. We met the next day and thus began an eight-year long friendship. It was through a common project that it all started.

They gave me the typical gift from the store that traveled the Pyrenees in search of people like me, and that’s how we met: the olive trees of the Pyrenees, and the illuminated of Solsona.

Life leads you to do what you have learned. That’s how it is.

How did you start your business and what has inspired you? You started with the tourism theme, right?

My intention was to turn it into a rural house. We put in some chickens and there was talk about the heat generated by the chickens. However, I put the lodge on hold for ten years. After that time, we resumed the project. We had removed the chickens, things were going well and we were finally able to finish the house. Unfortunately, during that process, we ran into some setbacks. We opened in New Year 2020, but by March we had to close again. Thus began our foray into tourism. In addition, other opportunities arrived, such as raising goats, which are always active. As for the animals, we are satisfied with how everything is working, honestly. We have gone through ups and downs, but we keep going. We are currently working with between 800 and 1,000 chickens.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own farm?

The advice is to put a lot of patience, a lot of passion and that it will come. Don’t worry, don’t get nervous, it’s a slow thing and you have to learn first. And when it is underway, then everything goes well and you learn day by day. Not everything is mechanical, it’s something where every fattening is different, everything is different and it’s not a production line. It depends on the weather, it depends on many things. There are many factors that influence us. On the other hand, the animal that is closed, how it is with the fans, the light and all that goes in a different way. On the other hand, here you go with the hours of the sun and it goes well.

How many square meters are there in the whole farm you are currently working on? Would you know if it is in hectares?

Yes, there are three and a half hectares, one of which is for tourism. One and a half is for chickens. And the rest is destined to goats.

What are your future plans for the farm?
Do you have any projects in mind to expand or improve the production or sustainability of the farm?

In principle, if we manage to complete the development of what we already have practically done, we will have to pause due to the difficulty of finding responsible people to help us. When we have everything up and running, we will be able to produce between 1,500 and 2,000 chickens every month, which represents a considerable amount of work. Our differential in comparison with other farms, and what makes our product stand out, is that we have our own workshop. This allows us to work with whole pieces without breaking the cold chain and to handle the product without causing any problems or consequences.

In addition, now, if all goes well, in approximately two months, possibly around July, we will begin to slaughter directly on the farm itself. We are building a slaughterhouse right here thanks to having the animals raised outdoors. Having the slaughterhouse on the farm will allow us to ensure that the animals are treated with the respect and care they deserve. This is especially important, as we will avoid animals having to be transported long distances or pass through other facilities, which could cause them stress and discomfort. In addition, we will be able to better control the speed and pace of the slaughter process, which will also help to reduce the animals’ stress and improve their quality of life.

Thus, the chicken we produce on our farm is a guarantee of quality and animal welfare, since it has been raised and processed with the utmost control over the animals’ living conditions and health, and with a slaughter process that prioritizes their welfare and respect for their lives. For us, it is important to offer our customers high quality meat with the guarantee that it has been raised and processed with care and respect for the animals.

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