WARNING!!!! DEAD CHICKEN pictures ahead…… Just letting you know.
Monday, July 2, 2012. It was D-day for the meat birds. All in all we processed 36 for eating, one was deemed gross (she stopped walking about a week ago and had some “bed sores”) so that meant we had about a 28% mortality rate. Yikes, we are bad chicken farmers:( However, what we came out with was an average weight of 4.5 lbs per chicken at 7 weeks. Joel Salatin’s broilers get to about 4 lbs at 8 weeks, so that most likely means we overfed them and they just grew too fast. We ended up with an obscene amount of meat. We kept 12 roasters (the 5 lb and almost 5 lb club) and we butchered the rest into breasts, legs, wings, and carcasses (for soup stock). I have to say I am impressed with the sizes of the breasts because they were HUGE. As well Miwa and I shared one yesterday night and OMG….. yum. All I did was use a bit of butter, salt and pepper and it was succulent and flavourful.
Our friends M and S came over to help with the processing, as well they were our partners in this little venture to see if it was worthwhile for us to raise our own meat birds. It took us about 3 hours to kill and gut the chickens (I was a bit rusty). Ben did the deed, M scalded and plucked with the Whizzbang and S and I gutted, de-footed, etc. After a lunch to recuperate, we proceeded to butcher the 24 chickens left. This part took a surprisingly short period of time. M, S and Ben butchered while I packaged. We saved the carcasses for stock and M and S took home the gizzards, livers and hearts for a tasty treat.
Anyhow, after all that, we raised 162.3 lb of chicken and including feed, cost of chicks, 10% for equipment (ie. making the hoop house etc.), we came to a cost of $2.39/ lb to raise the birds. This did not include the time spent moving the coop, or watering or feeding etc. This did also take into account mortality. Anyhow, I think it may have been worth it as we now have a whole bunch of meat in the freezer. And we know that these chickens had a good life until they died. Here are some pictures.
A picture of Ben’s ankle just for good measure!