We raise our own meat; we believe it’s a life skill everyone should have because you simply never know what will happen (case in point: the current COVID19 pandemic). We’ve raised our own beef and our own pork most recently. We have raised our own chickens for meat before, but the last time was before Gramma Izzie died. After seeing how the price of meat has gone up here and after seeing that there is rationing going on of beef, pork, and chicken across the country, we made the decision to raise our own meat birds again this year. We sat here in the living room just now on our devices and looked up various hatcheries to find a really great one that balanced with our price point (taking into consideration pricing of the chicks, shipping to us, cost to raise them, and time spent raising and then processing them ourselves necessitating buying a couple of new pieces of small machinery I’ve been eyeing for several years). We found and placed our order at Valley Farms Hatchery, and we should receive our meat chicks the week of June 16th!
I will do a monthly run-down on how the chicks are growing, time spent caring for them, amount of feed they ate, etc. At the end, I’ll write a culminating post telling the final price per pound on the chicken vs. the local grocery store prices then.
Tip for newbies: If you’re going to raise your own meat birds this year and you’re new at this, remember that there are two types of chickens: egg layers and meat birds. Egg layers grow very slowly and really aren’t ever going to dress out to have a nice big chicken to roast before the bird would be so old that it would simply be good for nothing but broth or the stew pot. If you want eggs, buy egg layers. If you want meat, buy meat birds.
Tip #2 for newbies: Who will be processing your meat birds? If you plan to take them somewhere, call your butcher IMMEDIATELY and set up your butcher date/appointment. Small local processors are filling up all their appointments months in advance because this pandemic is pushing many people to start raising their own meat/buying locally (necessitating a visit to the local butcher). If you wait, you’ll be processing your meat yourself whether you want to or not because you won’t find any last minute appointments. Also, if you’re going to do the processing yourself, don’t wait until the last minute to figure out how; make sure you line up your helpers and your equipment now and definitely make sure you’re comfortable doing this yourself.
The main goal here is to raise these meat birds in a happy, healthy environment. Give them plenty of space inside and outside to live their best chicken lives!