Monday, 9 July 2012

Meat Chickens - Out an About

Well the meat chickens are out and about and loving it.
They have their own yard separate from our egg laying chickens but within the same large enclosure.

Before we ordered the meat chickens I removed a large section of the grass from what would be their yard and planted out a patch of Clucker Tucker that I ordered through a local company Green Harvest.  Clucker Tucker is a mix of barrel medic, bok choy, buckwheat, forage chicory, clover, cocksfoot, linseed, lucerne, millet, forage plantain, silverbeet, subclover and sunflower. Most have vigorous root systems that will quickly regrow leaves that are eaten and will tolerate a bit of scratching once established.
You can see the patch of Clucker Tucker planted out on the left of the below photo.
The chickens like to lie in the sun amongst the Clucker Tucker.
They do scratch in the dirt a bit but not like our other chickens.
The next two photos were taken about a week ago when the chickens were six weeks old.  As you can see they are huge for their age and very un-attractive.

My best friend visited today and she had not seen the meat chickens before but she summed them up quite well.  She said they look inbred.  I think that pretty much sums them up.  
There is something just not right about them.  They sort of look like chickens and sort of behave like chickens, but anyone who has has a flock of laying chickens would see straight away that they are are just not normal chickens.
This has been quite a learning experience so far and the final tests will be at the end of the process when it comes to butchering and eating.
We will do a tally at the end to see exactly how much it has cost us to produce each bird but we are almost  100% convinced we will choose a heavy heritage breed for meat in the future.  So now we are looking at which breeds might be suitable.


  1. The clucker tucker looks fabulous. Sussex are a good dual purpose bird, they end up very big but are good layers as well. My sussex is like a front rower compared to my other hens, even the plymouth rocks aren't as big as she is, and she stands up to the dogs as well..quite funny to watch. Have you watched the gourmet farmer dvd from the first series? There is a section on there regarding slaughtering chooks and they use a cone system, which seems to work quite well. I think we would use this system if we start to breed ours for meat anytime in the future.

    1. Hi Debra You must have read my mind. We are pretty sure we will go with sussex and are looking to source a rooster and a few hens so that we can breed our own. I have got the DVD and we will have a look at the killing cone method.

  2. I always thought that sussex weren't as good layers, so we went for Rhode Is Reds for meat and eggs, not that have turned out to be particularly good layers anyway! It seems that the old stats on breeds aren't very helpful anymore, as they are mostly bred for looks rather than utility. Which ever breed you chose, breeding your own is so much fun and nice to know you don't have to rely on a company to supply the chicks every year. Will be very interested to see how yours turn out....


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