Sunday, October 30, 2011

Are you sure those are meat chickens?

If I had a dollar for everyone person that had asked that, well, maybe that would be the best way to make money farming. 

Our birds grew more slowly then your typical meat birds. It wasn't a mix up at the hatchery as we first suspected, although it's possible we weren't feeding them enough around the 4 months mark (my bad!). Quite simply the reason our meat birds don't look like meat birds, is because we let them live.

Out scrounging around
They had a chance to run around, enjoy the sunshine, scratch in the dirt, get into the cow poo, and choose whether or not they wanted to interact with any of the other chickens at any given moment. In return I have a whole lot of chicken poo to clean up around the farm when they are gone, but the grass is richer for it. We lost none to heart-attacks and broken legs despite them getting far older then they are supposed to. They greatly reduced the fly population around the farm, and provided tons of soil aeration to a few spots that really needed it. As well as entertainment for the kids.

For next year we are going to confine them to certain areas, probably with electric netting, just to keep the poo off the lawn. We also have to do this so that we can get a better feed conversion rate, unless everyone wants to pay $10/Kg. I hope we never have to go to an indoor system, to me this seems a far fairer way to raise chickens.
Following me into the barn for dinner

Their date is set for Wednesday. We're all very excited and should be enjoying our first roast chicken from the farm within just a few days. We've already had a ton of friends and family asking for chickens, in fact I doubt we're going to have enough as everyone would like. I certainly hope they all enjoy them too.

Quite honestly I think I'm going to miss those feathery little white bowling balls running all over the place. When they weren't getting directly in my way, or the cockerels trying to bite at my legs, they were quite a nice animal to have around. I'm looking forward to next April when we'll have a fresh crop of little yellow fuzzy bums.

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