Monday, October 15, 2012

D! O! N! E!

Yes we are!  Done with meatbirds for the year.  Ahhhhhh....  that's so nice. 

Hubby and I finished up on Saturday, processing the last 16.  It was a long day.  More than once I found my mind drifting to next weekend's fiber festival, and thinking "Won't it be nice NOT to have to do this next weekend?"  Oh yes, it will.

Out of the 35 we had, many have already been sold, but we have quite a few in the freezer for us for the winter.  Our grand total for this adventure?  195.81 pounds of chicken.  An average of 5.59 pounds per bird.  Not bad. 

The interesting thing about this batch was that it was a week between last processing and this processing, and the birds were remarkably different.  Feathers that came off easily last week, didn't this week.  Body cavities which were roomy-ish last week were unbelievably tight this week.  The birds were near 11 weeks old--3 weeks older than I like.  In retrospect, it was lucky they all made it to this point without incident, but they were too old.  What a hassle getting them plucked.  I finally skinned the last one, just because it was way too stubbly, and I just couldn't be bothered.  Chicken soup, anyone?

I went to their pen yesterday and cleaned out their waterers and feeders in the stream.   I admit, I was a little misty-eyed over it.  I had come to like this batch.  They were incredibly active-- most of the time they were in the garden in front, or mooching food off the layers on the other side of the yard.  They actually went into their houses at night (ish), and they were feisty as all hell.  But, what are you going to do?  They were meant for a different destiny, and have gone to chicken happy land.

And I am glad to say that we're done for the year.  Next year?  We'll see.  If the price of feed goes up the way it's starting to, we'll have to reassess.  Ugh. 

Well, 'till next time!

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  1. I am thinking of raising some meat birds next year, but they will all go to a Mennonite poultry processor to be "done", as they only charge 2.50 a bird to process and shrink wrap.
    Feed charges will be a factor for us, too.

  2. Congrats! That is a lot of chicken!! But so much better then the store ones!
    The price of grain is crazy! Hopefully next year it will be better, but I still think it's worth all the work. Even though we didn't raise our own this year for a number of reasons:(

  3. Wow! That is some accomplishment. I still have my 8 and am so NOT looking forward to the day. It is always a bad day for me. But when it is done...then it is done. I wondered what you would be doing with so many. Sharing - of course : )

  4. Good for you! Feed is getting so expensive that I have found myself slowing down and not wanting to raise any more new chickens.

  5. Wow you had that much trouble with your chicken feathers at a 11 weeks?! No wonder I whiz bang chicken plucker did work! Our chickens were 6 months old. THAT MY FRIEND is too old. All our birds will be roasters or broilers... you know?
    This was our first time-- next time we'll have the experience under our belt and know better how to go about it. The thing is... HOW DID YOU GET YOUR CHICKENS SO BIG AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE? I'm not even sure what our's weighed. The first one I cooked was kind of puny if you ask me. But it fed two people fine for 2 days. (4 meals- at 2 meals each.)
    Anyway... did your's free range? or just get fattened up with grain?
    I'm asking all these questions. because I'm still wet behind the ears, even though we've already put them up in the freezer. Need to improve some areas I know.
    Thanks in advance. Pat

  6. Are you folks feeding organic feed? We have seen the price jump every two weeks for months now....just a little bit at a time, but up and up nonetheless. We are just raising layers, but are considering meat birds soon.

    How much feed to you fed per day per bird? I know for layers it is .25 per hen and that is A LOT of feed around here....I can't imagine the expense. How you done a pound analysis?

  7. Mary Ann--It's so tempting to do that, but I don't know anyone around here who'll do it. Yeah, feed is the big factor.

    Sweetland--I agree. I just hope it won't bankrupt us!

    Michaele--I don't enjoy it, either. But I look at it as making clean food for my family. That's what keeps me going.

    Eggs--It is getting ridiculous, I agree.

    Pat--You win. 6 months beats my 11 weeks. The chickens raised were Cornish cross, so they're bred to put on weight faster. But yes, they did free range---ALL over the place. They were supplementally grain fed, but by the last 3 weeks or so, it was getting ridiculous (a 50 pound bag lasted 3 days), so I relied on their free ranging more. It didn't hurt them, and I think they lived longer and were as active as they were because of it.

    Jen--We don't do organic feed, because we can't afford it. It is outrageously expensive here, and is getting worse. I haven't done my analysis yet, but I am finding my receipts and will do so. I will post it.


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