Before this, I said I'd only keep a few birds for eggs. Now the irony of giving away extra free-range back yard chickens and then buying the same kind of chicken from a local farmer to eat has dawned on me. So: If I start with hatchery chicks next April, about how long would I want to wait to process the birds for meat? Thinking that I don't want to keep them around all that summer if possible. Last, if I keep them from food the day before slaughter, I still give access to water, yes? thanks.