Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Venture

Our laying hen chicks are now 9 weeks old and they are positively huge. It's time for them to fly the coop and move from the brooder to the outside world. No doubt they could have gone outside a month ago, but they're just so cute and funny -- I love having them around. But chickens weren't created to live in garages, no matter how luxurious the brooding suite. So, out they'll go sometime this week (when the coop is finished).

I want, immediately, to start a new project. Broiler hens. 8 weeks from hatch to dispatch. As much as I joke about naming calves "Jerky" and "Teriyaki," I think it would be rather difficult actually to kill, cook and eat something I've raised from day one. But the more I read and see about the disgusting conditions most chickens are raised in (salmonella outbreak, anyone?), and the grotesque ways in which they are slaughtered and processed, the more I want to break free from dependency on agri-business and raise my own meat.

If the 50 broiler trial works for us, we might even be able to develop a little local business out of it.

But let's not count our chickens before they... groan, nevermind.


Kansas Mom said...

We raised some from chick to butchering and they tasted great! I'm glad we did it, but Kansas Dad is under no allusions that I'll ever help kill, scald, or pluck a chicken. They come into the house ready to put in the fridge.

Right now we only have laying hens - six laying and eleven growing. How wonderful to have fresh eggs all the time!

Good luck!

Nadja said...

I wouldn't worry too much about getting attached to the meat birds if they are the Cornish Crosses (the fast growing hybrids). Once they are beyond the chick stage, they become these really ugly mutant birds with less intelligence than your average cockroach. They are so dumb, in fact, that if you tried to free-range them, they wouldn't find their way home and would starve to death.

We were going to get some this past spring, but Bret never got the chicken tractors built...maybe next year!

Tanya said...

My parents raised chickens. Mom was super diligent on making sure they were really clean. She would clean their coop at least once per day. The problem with chickens is that they can get burned by sitting in their feces. But, they were so clean that they didn't have a single burn on them. And they were HUGE!! She also kept feeding the meat hens scratch, which they loved. hehe Home raised chickens are absolutely delicious. And I agree that having your own eggs is so much better. You know exactly what you have fed them, insomuch as you know where you bought the feed and things, but you have so much more control over the cleanliness and things.

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