We made the decision to take the plunge and have a go at raising meat chickens and over the weekend we picked up our chicks.
We believe that since we are meat eaters it is important to be in touch with where our food comes from. It is one thing to know that your meat comes from an animal but to actually be part of the process I think will make us appreciate it a lot more.
We have discovered that with farming it is best to really think things through, come up with a good plan then smile and get creative after your plan goes sailing out the window.
We have two bantams who spend a lot of time being clucky and the plan was that they would sit on half the chicks each. So what do you think happened a few days before we were due to pick up the chicks? Yep they stopped being clucky.
So now we have a cage full of chickens in front of our fire in the house. And let me tell you these 14 little chicks make some noise.
It is not ideal to have them in the house but without a couple of surrogate mothers we are limited in our choices.
At this stage all these little guys do is eat, sleep and poop just like all babies so other than providing basic needs we are not too involved at this stage.
Before getting the chicks we spoke to the breeder at length. We discovered that once you make a commitment to raise meat chickens you have to follow through as there is no changing your mind and deciding to keep them for pets as they will not survive if they are purpose breed meat chickens.
Basically there are two types of meat chickens, purpose bred like the ones used in a commercial chicken farms and then there are the naturally heavy breeds of chicken suitable for meat.
The big difference is that purpose bred chickens are the result of two very heavy breeds crossed with each other to produce a very heavy bird that gets big fast so you do not have to spend huge amounts of money on food. But they have a short life span as their legs cannot hold their body weight if you let them get too big which is part of the problem with the birds raised in some commercial situations where the birds can become injured and they are so crowded together that it is not noticed.
We will be killing our birds at 13 weeks so that should be well before they get too heavy and could possibly become injured.
I will keep you all posted on how we go with this new journey as I am sure there will be a lot that we learn along the way