My first meatie experience

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Nupe, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My brother just started running his own commercial chicken operation. He didn't realize that the company was going to leave some behind for him to deal with. Since he's new to the area he wasn't prepared to keep, sell or give away all of the extras and they had to be gone before the next load of birds. There were around 150 chickens left over. He was able to process a few himself and give some away but the day before new chicks were to arrive, he still had about 50 left over.

    Since I have a little property and like keeping chickens (layers) he asked me to take them. Ugh. I took home about 50 stinky chickens. I have to say it was disturbing to see all the curled toes, splayed legs and raw looking rear ends. I put them in my first coop set up which was nothing more than an old shed and 100 ft of 4' welded wire fence attached to it. This set up was a failed experiment were my first flock of hens met their demise to the local foxes, raccoon and neighborhood dogs. (My current flock are secured in a fully enclosed coop/run.) After 3 days I realized not only could I not afford keep their food dish full all day but they were going to destroy the coop floor no matter how much hay and wood chips I put down. There were just too many of them. Also, the bigger ones were protecting the food from the smaller ones. So they were evicted to the run where their only shelter was under the shed, trees and bushes. I ran a second fence around the perimiter of the pen to help keep predators out but I'm still surprised I didn't lose any that way.

    I lost 1 chicken a day until I quit filling the feeder. Instead I took a bucket out with 2 scoops of food (1 pellet, 1 scratch and a little grit) twice a day and would just broadcast it in the pen so they all could eat at the same time with almost no fighting. After that, I only lost one more, making 4 dead total. I kept them this way for around 5 weeks (the time it took for a backordered chicken plucker to arrive.) They smelled a bit better by then and their rears looked quite a bit healthier. I'm happy that they got to scratch and peck like a normal chicken for a while.

    Last Saturday, we did the deed. I invited my Mom and a couple of friends over to join the "party." One of my neighbors grew up raising their food and had no problems taking care of the killing part (and I had no problems letting her.) It amused me how sweet she talked to the birds while stringing them upside down and cutting their heads off.

    We fumbled through the first dozen but eventually we had a nice little assembly line going with the wrangling, killing, scalding, plucking, eviscerating and dressing the birds and everyone went home with some meat. We did it all outside so no stinkies in the house. I found a nice little folding table with a sink that hooked up to a garden hose. It came in really handy.

    I have to say it was an interesting experience. I grew up with ducks, both hunted and raised, but I was never a part of the killing or cleaning. Now I know I can at least stomach the process, and if I have to, I would be able to do the deed myself. I doubt I will ever get chickens in this manner again. We have a nice field that would work fine for tractoring chickens and I really want to try either freedom rangers, rainbow rangers or something similar to raise them from chicks. The deciding factor will be comparing taste as well as cost. I also plan on growing fodder and maybe even a mealworm farm to bring the feed cost down.

    Since the chickens were basically forced on me, I didn't start doing any research on meaties until I already had them. I was surprised that I could not find any info or other documented experiences with left over commercial chickens other than "rescues" by people who would never kill them for food. I would like to hear some other people's experience with them. I know few locals around here eat them, but the ones I know that keep other chickens aren't so worried about the bird's quality of life so I have a very hard time talking to them about chickens. Maybe there's a better way to deal with them that is not so disgusting because these chickens will always be available to me and I hate to see food go to waste. Or maybe it's a taboo subject and I just ruffled some feathers... [​IMG]
     
  2. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just what type / breed of chickens will your brother be raising ? If you will have a constant supply of these birds, why would you want to raise your own from chicks ? [​IMG]
     
  3. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Sell a few of them for a couple of bucks apiece and use the cash to feed the few you would like to keep and butcher for your self.

    What a windfall! I wish I was so lucky.........
     
  4. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The biggest issue with these chickens is how nasty they are. At the point at which I get them, they're 6 or 7 weeks old and they've known nothing but eat, drink, and diarrhea. The smell is pretty awful. Some legs are broken or splayed, some have curled toes and some have broken wings. They all have cherry red backsides with very little fluff. Most are missing feathers from pecking and fighting. It can be a bit disturbing to see.

    The end result I think is better than what you get at the grocery but I can't help but believe the Freedom or Rainbow rangers would be better all around. I suppose I could try and tractor the commercial CX's. They did eat all of the foliage in the pen they were in and they smelled a lot better by the time they were slaughtered.
     
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    That was a very accurate description of what meaties look like when they are taken from the commercial house and shipped to slaughter.
     
  6. DLCShark

    DLCShark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd like to try my hand at some leftover bird raising. When will the next batch be ready :)
     
  7. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nupe ...your comments of nasty, stinky CornishX s and blaming these birds for it just DO NOT fly in real life !!!!! The REAL problem is POOR MANAGEMENT of this particular operator or anyone else who seam to badmouth them. Your belief that The Freedom Ranger or Rainbow rangers not to mention any of the so called " heritage", or any " mutt " or " barnyard" chickens will NOT fare any better under the management that these poor chickens were under. Remember the old Scottish proverb.... " The eye of the master fattens the cattle." Learn the proper protocols of raising these birds AND FOLLOW them and you will see for yourself. Just look anywhere on this site of folks that provide proper management and you will be surprised how great these CornishX birds really are. You have to realise that these birds are a terminal cross and are meant to eat and drink anything in sight and because of this they poop a lot, wouldn't you too, As a result they are the most efficient converter of feed to meat in all of chickendom in the shortest time possible. Barr NONE !!! I have raised the CornishX for over 5 years now and I have NEVER experienced any of these nasty, stinky scenarios that you revile. [​IMG] I wish you luck ! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Nupe was describing what they looked like when they came to him from his brother's COMMERCIAL broiler house.

    Commercially raised chickens do not get the same level of care that back yard chickens do.

    He even stated that after he had them for a while they smelled better.........
     
  9. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't say the problem with these birds is the breed, it's the way they've been raised so far. And I'm not going to fault my brother for raising these chickens in the manner that his contract requires. I'm proud that he was able to obtain this farm and earn himself a stable living in this economy. But since I'm in a position where I can do better for myself, I would like a little slower growing bird with a better mentality for foraging and possibly breeding them to replenish the stock. I know the offspring won't be quite the same or uniform but I'm sure they'll do just fine.

    On a side note, the more responses I read here, the more I'm leaning towards rethinking my decision to pass on these birds. Maybe tractoring them is the way to go. My neighbor had a blast on processing day. She said it reminded her of growing up on the farm as a young girl. And the smell of processing wasn't nearly as bad as I was anticipating. 5 weeks out of the broiler house did make a difference. If I do take more chicken from him, I think I will show up right after the trucks leave and cherry pick the best looking birds. This time around I got all the leftovers. There will still be more chicken than we all can handle but I think he'll be Craig's listing the rest.
     
  10. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I is a girl... [​IMG]
     

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