Friday, 15 June 2012

Eight and a Half Weeks

Exactly eight and a half weeks ago, I popped into the local feed store to pick up the chicks that I'd ordered. We only ordered  meaties this year as we decided that the layer flock was big enough for the moment.   They are such cute, delicate, fluffy babies.  Noisy though for sure!  Somehow it always surprises me that a chorus of those tiny peeps adds up to such a big noise!

We were lucky this year with a number of factors, which helped with good growing conditions.  The weather was warm enough that I could turn the heat lights off earlier than I normally do.  This meant the beasts had to actually sleep at night, rather than have enough light to eat all night.  I'd ordered unsexed chicks.  This means that they tend to get along better.  The females are smaller and some of them don't grow as quickly.  We had two who were really active and kept stirring up the rest, so they got a bit of exercise.   Healthier birds for all that.         
  This morning, at stupid early, we loaded them up for the drive to the processing plant.  It's not a horribly nice thing to think about, but they have lived a good life for their time.  I'll admit that by 7 weeks of age, they become work, eating, drinking and pooping an awful lot.  They grow so crazy fast it's almost scary.  You can see why warnings go out about the risks of the chicken industry relying on too small a genetic pool, should a disasterous health issue arise.   However, you can also why has come about.  In order to feed people, chickens need to be grown quickly and efficiently.   This cross breed is very food efficient!  We let ours grow larger than the industry standard, cause well, we aren't an industry, just filling our freezer for the winter ahead.   Tomorrow morning, that freezer will be filled and we will have chicken on the barbeque for dinner.


Leigh said...

"Stupid early," LOL. I'm going to have to remember that. I didn't know that about single sexed chicks not getting along as well. Interesting.

Your point about the genetic pool and industry is a good one. It's a problem growing fruits and vegetables as well. That seems kind of shortsighted in itself. Unfortunately industry keeps trying to push laws that restrict smallholders who could otherwise add to the gene pool and diversity, especially because many of us focus on heritage breeds. That's beyond shortsighted, that's stupid. Do they and the puppet politicians who support them think they will be immune if there is a massive failure of their system? Or do they think they know something we don't?

My Journey With Candida said...

We grew up raising chickens. I sure don't miss all the work and chicken poop. Our chickens wondered around our yard pooping all over the place.

I bet your chickens aren't pumped full of antibiotics that the industry pumps them full of.

Nina said...

An awful lot of anger and angst can be raised with those particular discussions :) The we know what's best for you attitude is frightening at times and really presumes that the general person doesn't know up from down. I think there are a lot of us who see the details and can envision some of the possibilities. A lot of them aren't very nice.

Hi Journey,
Yes, the meat birds are hormone free. So are my layers. However they do wander about my yard, free ranging. Yes, my yard is full of chicken poo too. Luckily, it is spread fairly thinly

Woolly Bits said...

we still have to wait for chickens until the new shed is done up... I'd only go for layers though, because I'd have to slaughter myself and also wouldn't have the space to keep the meat chickens - and afterwards the meet! you must have one gigantic freezer?:)) but it's reassuring to know where the birds came from....

Nina said...

Bettina, I've heard that our freezers and refrigerators are much larger than the European sizes. That being said, our freezer is smaller than most. We sold 10 of the birds to a friend, which saves a bit of space.. only 27 in the freezer. 10 of those were chopped up, saving even more space.

I am not sure I'd have meat birds if I had to process them myself. I could learn to do the processing, but have no easy method of disposing the wastes and by products of slaughtering.

Woolly Bits said...

hehe, only 27?? I think I'd be able to put in 10 max. if I didn't store anything else in my freezer:))