Meat Birds: Seeking "good things to ask" questions

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SewingDiva, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    We can get dressed meat birds through our CSA this summer, which makes me happy because we love our laying hens but we can't do meat birds where we live. Next week I’m going to call the man who will supply them and I hope our BYC meat bird folks can help me ask the right questions.

    Here’s what I know so far, which is not much:

    - $2 reservation in advance per bird
    - Cornish X are $3.80 lb and Delaware’s are $4.23 lb. (we will likely try both)

    So here's what I plan to ask him him, if anyone can think of other questions I'd really appreciate the input!

    • Do they free range?
    • Does he use medicated feed?
    • What is his average dressed weight per bird?
    • Are they chilled or frozen?
    • I'm assuming the birds are sold whole (which is fine I know how to cut up a chicken)
    • Is it okay to ask him to leave out the giblets?

    Is there anything else I should ask?

    Thank you so much!
  2. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    These all seem like reasonable questions to me.

    I'm particularly interested in the average weight of the dressed Delawares. If you could pass that info along, it would be appreciated.

    Does the CSA have a website? I'd love to take a look.

  3. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    They do; its Powisset Farm , in Dover MA, a property owned by an open space non-profit called the Trustees of Reservations. The meat birds are being supplied by Burnshirt Valley Farm , in Barre MA and the reserved birds are delivered by the producer to Powisset and we will pick them up with our weekly CSA share.

    Powisset will have laying hens on site this year, and I think they make outside arrangements with meat producers for chicken, prok and beef because the farm is not really big enough to manage vegetable farming along with livestock.

    It seems like a win for Burnshirt Valley Farm because Powissett has an established CSA membership (250 shareholders and a long waiting list). Powissett is in suburban Boston, and there is a large local population base and lots of interest in CSA's and locally raised meat.

    Tim, after I speak to him (tomorrow hopefully) I'll post the info I get on his Delawares.

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  4. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Quote:I exchanged an e-mail with Floyd at Burnshirt Valley Farm. He was unable to provide an average dressed weight for the Delawares. He says "I am new to meat birds". So I don't think it was a case of being unwilling to share information rather than just not having experience with them.

    I have been looking for a self sustaining breed that I could use for both meat and egg production. Last year I tried some Delawares. I bought eggs online and hatched them. I was disappointed by their size, they were not much (if at all) different from the Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rocks in my small laying flock.

    I put seven of them in the freezer. Since they were grown out until 16-17 weeks, I have always slow cooked them. I weighed the meat that I took off the bones after slow cooking once and found that I had just over one pound of meat. The stock is great and chicken pie from these birds has become a family favorite, but it's one pie (plus a little leftover for soup) from each bird. Nothing more.

    It is true that Delawares were used extensively on the broiler industry in the 1940s and 1950s. But, I imagine the producers breed their birds for size, so that the birds used back then are not the same size birds that are common today. In my looking around and asking people who have raised Delawares, I have not found anyone who has gone through a breeding process in an attempt to produce a bigger bird.

    I did find someone local who raised Delawares and sold them for meat. He told me his customers were happy, but that he stopped raising them a year ago. He didn't tell me why and I didn't pry.

    The hens that I kept have been decent egg layers. They are in a mixed flock, so I do not know which eggs are theirs, but I see them in the laying boxes as often as the other ladies.

    If you get more information about the Delawares, I hope you will share.


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