Thursday, October 20, 2011

Raising Cornish Cross Chicks: A reflection of the entire process.

I like to use the word process instead of kill, slaughter, cull, butcher...but use whatever ya like. We found these websites helpful when learning how to process our poultry:

the modern homestead
food water and fire
girls guide to guns and butter
cultivating home

We are still learning and I did not feel like we should write a "how to" blog post. We do have a picture of how big our birds got in about 6 weeks...

From this, only a few days old...

to this, about six weeks old

Pretty crazy...right? All in all I am okay with the outcome. I know we will not get this breed again but I am glad that we went through the whole process. I was not bothered by the fact that I had to take care of them a lot, just the fact that the way they grow seems unnatural. I guess what I am trying to get to is that I'm willing to take the extra time and money to care for birds longer knowing that they will have a better, happier and most likely healthier life.

It was a really great experience for us and I'm happy that I now know a basic life skill! I'm a proud woman who now knows how to raise and process a chicken! I was talking with a friend who grew up on a farm the other day about how to process them and I confessed that the part I was the most worried about was plucking them. He of course was surprised and laughed at me. I ended up having a hard time with the killing of the bird and ended up just being the one to hold it down and try to calm it. Most people don't think about the fact that someone killed the meat they are eating and it was hard. We gave the birds a good life and a quick end and I know it sounds weird but I'm thankful that we now know this basic life skill. It may be hard but it is the cycle of come in the world and you leave it.

We worked really well as a team and I think two people helps a lot in the process. We started to pluck but the skin with tearing so much that we ended up just skinning all of them. We must have not had the water temp right to scorch them...rookie mistake! By the last bird we had it down pretty well and I'm sure next time it will go a lot better.

We are also glad to be able to offer info on this breed for others since we had somewhat of a hard time finding any info on the internet. I was told that this breed would take 6-8 weeks to be the right size and pictured the Cornish game hens you see in the store, a serving size for one person, boy is that wrong.

Our birds dressed at 2lbs 8oz for the biggest and 2lbs 3/8oz for the smallest . I think they take about 4 weeks to get to the store bought size. This was a great learning experience for us and now we are one step closer towards our goal of living off and with the land.

Thanksgiving is awhile away (wait...I guess its only a couple of weeks) and our freezer is now full for the thanksgiving feast! I really think that it is my favorite I'm getting really excited!


junglej said...

I remember doing that as a kid, plucking the feathers was a mess!!!

Stoney Acres said...

Raising meat birds has been on my list for a while. But I have to admit to being a bit squeamish about the processing. That's actually kind of weird for me as I'm a hunter and fisherman. Let us know how they taste! It sure feels good to be able to provide for yourself!

Stoney Acres said...

I'd love to see some kind of break down of the costs involved. I know it cost more to grow your own but I'd love to see how much it cost you per pound to raise your own birds.

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