Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 12, 2017
5,578
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Western Ohio
Good Luck!

If you want to process them yourself, you'll want to find a bunch of helpers or do only so many in one day and just keep it up until they are done. Have a goal of processing 6 the first day. Subsequent days you can process more bc you'll work out the kinks and get over the initial learning phase the first day. Alternatively, sell them live as suggested.

They're drinking water with apple cider vinegar.

FWIW, there should always be plain, fresh water (no additives) offered along with additive water. OR you can offer additive only water for a few hours, then switch to plain water for the remainder of the day. The birds should always be able to chose plain water. Many that use ACV will only use it 1-2x per week. Even when I purchase electrolyte packets for chicks, the packet tells me to offer plain water in addition to the additive water.


Feed: starter feed is fine for meat chickens. When people know they have meat chickens and then plan to butcher at 7-8 weeks, they will feed a meat grower feed bc it bulks them up pretty fast. But, others let their meat birds grow longer and restrict feed after 3 or 4 weeks and process a bit later.

Cleanliness: We just hose ours off the morning of processing, focusing on their breast area as that is the dirtiest. Clean litter is best before then. They certainly produce more poop than a regular chicken.
 

RiverOtter

Crowing
11 Years
Nov 4, 2009
1,085
1,614
361
NY
Just curious, why is a duck 2 units?

I'm pretty sure it's by weight - and therefore hazards from mess disposal and likelihood of the body heat spoiling the meat if the bird isn't bled out fully or processed quickly enough. The larger the animal, the more risk/work/time from start to finish.
Agriculture is full of fun, work-based measurements. Like an acre is the average amount of cropland that one man with one ox could plow in one day

If you go to the store, duck (if you can find it) generally weighs 6-9 lbs, to a chickens 3 or 4, and goose and turkey weigh 12-20
 

JacinLarkwell

Free Ranging
Mar 19, 2020
8,421
14,467
531
South-Eastern Montana
I'm pretty sure it's by weight - and therefore hazards from mess disposal and likelihood of the body heat spoiling the meat if the bird isn't bled out fully or processed quickly enough. The larger the animal, the more risk/work/time from start to finish.
Agriculture is full of fun, work-based measurements. Like an acre is the average amount of cropland that one man with one ox could plow in one day

If you go to the store, duck (if you can find it) generally weighs 6-9 lbs, to a chickens 3 or 4, and goose and turkey weigh 12-20
Oh, okay I thought they were about the same size as a large chicken
 
Dec 28, 2020
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Federal law says you can process 1000 "bird units" without a permit, so long as they are sold in-state, so you're good, And definitely better selling them over the table than under! It's legal, so do it right.
Bird units = 1 chicken=1 unit, 1 duck=2 units, 1 goose or turkey = 4 units.
https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/2017/05/producergrower-1000-bird-limit-exemption/#:~:text=It permits a poultry raiser,equivalent) within one calendar year.

Page 11
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/c...ltry_Slaughter_Exemption_0406.pdf?MOD=AJPERES


As far as their care, yes, move them out of the brooder. Give them space for their WEIGHT, not their AGE (a 4# bird needs as much space as any other 4# bird, whether it's a year old hen or a month old broiler)
Get them onto a poultry finisher ration.
Yes, keep them clean - which is a LOT easier when they have the right amount of space. People who complain that meat birds are disgusting are trying to raise 25 5lb broilers in the same space they raise 25 1/2lb layer chicks in - the number might seem the same, but really you have 10x as much bird in there.

It is not hard to process them yourself, and you don't have to make a day of it. Do one, and ok, you're over the hump, you can do this. Take a few days. Then do 5, ok, you have figured out how to get a system going, take a few days. Then do 20, ok, great, that went a lot faster and smoother than you thought it would, because you have the prep done.

Also, when you butcher, they don't all have to be beautiful roasters - skin them and part them out if it's easier. You've bought skinless chicken breast at the store, just do that and can the rest. Homemade canned chicken is amazing to have on hand.

You got this.
Great post!
 

U_Stormcrow

Crowing
Jun 7, 2020
1,550
3,307
286
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Thank you so much that's really helpful advice


In addition to the rather permissive Federal Law, you should look into your State law, too. Most states have a policy, or set of policies, related to home based businesses involving livestock, preparation, and on site sales. You want to use "cottage industry" and "limited poultry license" as your keywords to start your search.

For instance, where I am (FL), we have both Cottage Industry laws (which, sadly, are not applicable to almost anything to do with poultry) AND an annual "Limited Poultry and Egg License" (with associated fees and recordkeeping, of course. In my case, the highlights of that $110 annual fee are as follows:

Any poultry operation with under 1,000 laying hens or 20,000 birds for dressed poultry is defined as a Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Operation by the state of Florida. This means that you’re a farm-based food establishment that is selling eggs or dressed poultry directly to consumers. Poultry includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea, fowl, or quail.

Limited poultry and egg permit farms can sell their products at roadside stands, farmers markets, or through direct sales to the purchaser, including restaurants and institutions (for cooking, not for resale). Internet sales aren’t allowed. Your farm must have USDA approved cleaners and sanitizers for eggs, and the appropriate egg washing machine or three-compartment sink for sanitation. All eggs for resale must be kept at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and dressed poultry must be kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

There are limits to the quantity of sales that a limited poultry farm can do in one week; no more than 30 dozen eggs or 384 dressed poultry. Products can only be sold within the state of Florida, and not across state lines.

And additionally, it requires inspection and issuance of a Food Establishment Permit (more costs, equipment requirements, etc).

Legally selling home grown poultry and poultry products is an onion, layer after layer, each likely to cost you something in time, labor, cash and/or reporting. By the time I add in the likely costs of the Food Establishment permit, annual potable water testing (I'm on a well) and other bagging and commercial cleaning requirements, I'd have about $600 in costs each year. If I could get egg cartons around $1, and sell at $3/dozen, I'd have to sell almost a dozen eggs each day just to cover licensing, before I could start to cover feed costs, replacement birds as they age out, etc. Similar math on selling processed meat birds, though the unit of measure obviously differs. And once you cross $15,000 in sales each year, licensing costs at least double.
 
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TomNY

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2010
275
128
186
I love the taste of duck and goose but only have had store bought, not farm raised.

I wish I had ten cents for every Pennsylvania duck that crossed the Throgsneck Bridge to live its last days and be legally sold as Long Island Duckling. John Duck's in South Hampton was may favorite place for duck. Is the Flanders Big Duck still there on Rt.24?
 
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Newyorkrita

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 13, 2010
679
628
291
Long Island, New York
I wish I had ten cents for every Pennsylvania duck that crossed the Throgsneck Bridge to live its last days and be legally sold as Long Island Duckling. John Duck's in South Hampton was may favorite place for duck. Is the Flanders Big Duck still there on Rt.24?

Don't know. I stay around here close to home at the North Shore of Nassau County here on Long Island.
 

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