Saturday, 11 June 2011

Chook update

The wee chicks have grown.  This photo was taken last week. The white ones are meaties and almost ready to ship here.  The pretty ones are layer replacements; Plymouth Barred Rocks (dark speckled ones)  and Rhode Island Red x Columbia crosses (red).     We knew the White Rock meat birds would grow quickly, but I really don't think we were prepared for how quickly they would grow in actuality.  They are huge here and by this week they were even larger.  The White Rocks are fairly slow, due to their size and I will admit that a chicken that size, which still peeps like a little one, is a tad weird.

The little girls though are feisty beasts.   Last year's females were much more docile.  One of the red ones, probably the one who is posing for the photo, has decided for the past couple of weeks to try flying.   She's topped the short walls which were all that was needed for the White Rocks.  Tonight, when I went to shut up the coop, she was sitting on one of the walls, roosting!  Guess what my sweetie needs to build tomorrow.. yep, a new roost for the baby girls.

There are few commercial poultry processors who still do custom killing.  The one we used last year only does commercial batches now.  At one point we were looking at at least a 2 hour drive each way, or doing it ourselves.   Most places which do custom processing, fill up quickly.  Luckily we found one less than an hour drive away, which still had space. 

Yesterday morning at 6 am, we were up catching chickens.  Well, my sweetie caught them.  I manned the crates and helped load the crates into the truck.   I was going to ship 3 of my hens, 2 which are a bit aggressive to other hens and one more.  However, we made a few mistakes there.  First, we should have gone in before bed and caught them while they were roosting.  At the very least, we should have caught them first in the morning.  However we didn't think it would be an issue, so we caught all the meaties first.  By then of course, the girls were wide awake and aware that something was up.   After spending more than a few minutes chasing them around their pen, we decided that they had a reprieve 'cause we new we weren't going to catch them.  My aim was to keep the flock at a reasonable size, while having some young girls to lay over the winter while the older one's will be moulting and not really laying much at all!  Now I'm going to have a flock of 16 .. I sure hope we like eggs.

We dropped off the chooks.. no, it wasn't the nicest job to do, but they place was really clean and it was obvious that the people there knew what they were doing and how to do it efficiently. 
We came home, did some errands and I had a nap!  On Wed. I did a medieval textile demo for 400 kids and about 60 adults.   It lasted most of the day, in an auditorium, with cement floors, no A/C and not even the ceiling fans were turned on.  I was still tired from that!
My sweetie decided to make dinner for me.  It was spit roasted beef and fire roasted potatoes.  We had a salad with greens from our garden to go with it.  Yummy!

Today, we picked up the birds, freezer ready.  I wish I wasn't charging my camera battery or I could show you what, as my son calls it, "the wall of chicken" looks like.  A freezer full of chicken and right now, no place for much else!  By the way, the processor did an amazing job and so did we I think.  The smallest weighed in at 2 kilos and the 3 largest at 3.1 kilos.  The rest were nicely in between.


Woolly Bits said...

puh, more than 3 kg - that's nearly a small turkey:)) I love the coloured ones though, they are so pretty!
and demos for that many people - do you still have a voice left?
enjoy a little rest!


Leigh said...

Love the spit roasted beef! I know doing the demo must have been exhausting, but what a treat to come home to.

I think if we could have custom processing done, we'd have had meat chickens this year. Of course logistics are a problem for us; we really need a separate place to raise them. The size difference is amazing, compared to your egg chooks.

Nina said...

Bettina, I named one of the largest freezer birds, Thanksgiving and another Christmas!

Leigh, we were lucky in finding a good processor about an hour away. All the others are close to 2 hours and there are fewer and fewer places doing custom chicken processing every year due to Gov't regulations.