We've had laying hens for three years and last year, you may remember our adventure with meat chickens. Well, we raised another 50 meat chickens again this year.
Last year's chickens were a pretty good success, but our neighbor's dog, killed 17 of them four days before butchering. That day, we all cried through trying to salvage all of them as best we could. Unfortunately, although we processed them all, they tasted horrible, because they had, had a heart attack from being run down by the dogs. The chickens that made it to butchering day, though, tasted so wonderful through the winter that we just had to do it again!
Our neighbor actually hooks us up and gets the chicks in. He sells them to us after a week in his hoop house, and then we bring them down to our little addition to the hen house until they can be moved outside. I will admit that these chickens are not that pretty and the smell really bad! We get the Cornish Cross, and although they've been crossed to get this beautiful meat on the table, they sure are ugly until then!
Needless to say, nine weeks after they are born, we spend a couple of days at the neighbor's house, butchering both our chickens and then helping with their chickens.
Believe it or not, I actually was a vegetarian, and frankly, don't like any of the process of killing any animals, BUT we have to eat, and I'm so happy to be able to raise our own birds. I have several friends who are pretty mortified at the thought of butchering their own birds. Here's the deal, if you eat meat, you should at least once, kill and process your own meal! We assembly line the processing and you'll never believe what I like to do! I do the gutting!! I know - I've certainly come a long way!