Meat Chickens. I'm not sure why now I've finally gotten the courage up... but suddenly this Spring it became alright to raise our own chickens. Don't get me wrong- we have had chickens almost as long as I've lived here- but only layers. I have had a mental hang up about taking our farming any farther... I have always been worried about the attachment factor, and the actual process of processing them. At an open house earlier in the spring we learned about a great poultry place right up the road from us and knowing their prices, and how "easy" they make it... suddenly it seemed like a less daunting thing to do.
So, I relented to Bill's pressures to be more self sufficient and agreed to raise the meat birds! We started with 20 fluffy white chicks:
Then cared for them, cleaned up after them and gawked at their rapid growth rate for 8 weeks. We lost a few along the way (a learning curve to be sure!) and ended up with 14 in the freezer!
Even though it's just about summer- we have had some cool rainy weather so I was able to roast one. I'm no gourmet cook- and clearly need some training in trussing a bird- but I think it came out pretty good! It's nice to know where the food we feed the kids came from- and what sort of life it had. The experience was good for us all... if we do it again I've certainly learned a thing or two, and the kids will continue to see this part of the food chain and hopefully develop an understanding about feeding ourselves and working for food... not to mention getting to enjoy the tasty dinners!
Now, the kicker to this deal: I agreed to care for the birds (cleaning their stall every other day or so, feeding and watering them twice daily and monitoring- (stressing over them!) their growth) and Bill's role would be to make sure we had a new freezer installed in the utility room (we lost our old one last fall, and didn't replace it right away... so I have had no "extra" freezer space) and transport them on their scheduled "day." Somehow this run to Florida came up at *just* the right time... we ended up with 14 birds and no freezer (Thanks to his Mom who plugged an older model they have in the basement in for me!) plus I had to load them into the crates and take them in myself (Thanks to the girls who helped me and my Mom who watched Wes so I didn't have to explain too much!) Sigh. Not sure how that happened!