Right there with ya! Much better to know what went into that food when you raise it yourself. Our goal is to be self-sufficient. Not quite there yet with the chicken meat, since we eat more chicken than anything, but we're working on it.
I usually wait at least 24 hours after butchering before I do anything with a bird whether it's freezing it or brining for roasting, to let the muscles go into and out of rigor mortis. I love to brine and get the different flavor combos into the meat. And then when I cook the roasted carcass remains to make chicken stock, the stock has even more flavor to it.
I hear you. I have some young fruit trees, and when the squirrels don't try to take it, I end up with some. I plan on some raised gardens, and latter a high fence and leanto for either goats or hairless sheep. So, I understand your need to be self-sufficient. I remember my grandfather sitting on his dairy ranch/farm and looking across the table with pride and said, "Everything on this table came from this farm." I don't have nearly the acreage he had by a long shot, but I can micro-farm. You can do a lot with 1.5 to 2 acres than most people would imagine.