Chickens into Chicken

Loaded up the “meats” and took them to the processor yesterday.  “Processor” as in a woman in rural Wisconsin with a team of local folks in a small shed.  48 chickens in one end and out the other in a matter of minutes, slick as a whistle.  If the Big Decline ever dictates that we do the butchering on our own, can do and have done, but for now I rather prefer the local micro-economy.  I was back home by 1:30 p.m. and we had everything chopped, bagged/sealed, and in the freezer in time to put the tots to bed.

The three-year-old was my copilot for the drive.  We had a fine time, yukking it up, holding hands, and snacking on the goodies Mom packed.  One false alarm potty-break, but Dad used the opportunity to check the tarps.  Every good trucker always checks the tarps.

Chickens smaller this year…dressed out between 3.5 and 5.5 pounds, but they were real nice, and we only lost two (one right out of the box and one at about three weeks).  Last year we had bigger chickens (some up to 8 pounds) but higher mortality, and frankly, although it’s nice to brag up your giant chickens, apart from one or two big family get-togethers per year, the more petite birds have their advantages.

Kinda depends when you get them and how much you want to put in them, I guess.  There are formulas.  We just fit them in as the calendar allows.  We fed them chick starter at first, then switched them to hog feed (cheaper than chicken feed).  They also ate a fair amount of expired bakery bread and every other day I moved them to a fresh patch of green oats and kale (it was supposed to be just kale, but I planted the kale after harvesting the oats and we got a lot of volunteers).  They love that kale, and they also will strip the green oats down pretty good, given two days to do it.

Anneliese threw a couple of backs in the roaster pan when we started, so we taste-tested around 7 p.m., and that’s good chicken.

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