Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mo Meaties

This spring we raised a batch of meat chickens.  We ordered 50 Freedom Rangers which we split with 3 other families.  They grew out to an average of 5.5 pounds in 9 weeks.  And when it was time to process we had all hands on deck to do so.  There were 5 women, 3 men, and 2 kiddos available to help.  It only took us about 3 hours to process all of the birds. Not too bad considering we were all novices.

 Our processing set up

 Turkey fryers were used for our scalders.  After decapitation and bleed out, birds are scalded at 140-150 degrees for about a minute.  
After scalding we dropped the birds in our homemade plucker.  We bought instructions for how to build a Whizbang plucker from Herrick Kimball.  None of us wanted to hand pluck 50 birds!
My six year old niece supervising the guys as they run the plucker.

Clean as a whistle.
Now on to the processing table, i.e. the girls table.

 My 9 year old niece was a huge help.

Raising the meaties was fairly labor intensive.  Keeping the feeders and waterers filled was practically a full time job - especially as the chicks got older and the weather got warmer.  We also did weekly weigh ins so we could see how the birds were growing.  Overall though it was a pleasurable experience.  I know this sounds cruel, but d day was probably the best thing about it.  It was neat getting to spend time with family and friends working toward a common purpose.  I can now say I know how barn raisers must have felt.  Except we didn't have a square dance afterwards...

On Thursday of this past week our fall meaty chickens arrived.  This time we ordered Kosher Kings from Noll's Poultry in Kleinfeltersville, PA based on recommendations from some participants at BackyardChickens

Our latest batch of meaties - Kosher Kings

This time around with the meat chickens I am going to do some things to make things a little less labor intensive.  I'm borrowing an automatic waterer from a friend, and I'm going to have my husband build another pvc pipe feeder - or maybe two more.  Then hopefully I'll only need to fill up the feeders once a day.  A girl can hope can't she.  

We've got a couple new families participating in the fall meatie grow out.  Since our d day falls during deer season, Charlie's uncle has opted out, but his cousins and another family friend are going to help out.  I'm looking forward to another day of comradery in 8-12 weeks.