Raising Meat

This winter, Jeremy decided to raise some meat chickens. It's funny being married to him, because I've been talking about homesteading and planning it and generally just thinking about it for years, and nothing feels like it ever happens.

But Jeremy thinks about it for about 2 seconds, and then we have meat birds on the way and two new cows.

Boom! World changed. We are homesteaders again.

Which means I have to get up early. This is taking some adjusting, but I'm getting less cranky about it.

Jeremy built a chicken tractor, ordered 50 Cornish Cross chicks with our friends at Farm Life Outfitters, and planned the butcher day eight weeks later.

And that day landed on June 8, so we processed some 100 birds between 3 families. I say 'we' loosely there. I did get my hands in on it for half a minute, but thankfully Gideon was like an adult working on everything, so I didn't feel too guilty about it.

Gideon made us really proud and had a hand in helping in just about every spot. He killed and learned how to do it so humanely the birds didn't even know they were dying. They just went to sleep. And then Gideon put them up on the dipper to scald them, then put them in the plucker, then pulled them out to pull off the heads and chop off the legs.

Being a boy, he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Being on the way to becoming a man, he worked hard and didn't stop till the work was done. Shwoo. I can't believe our children are growing so.

Back to the chickens, who also grew incredibly fast. We moved the chicken tractor every morning around the field. This field is going to be our garden and orchard. It's almost half an acre big, but it's been farmed for years and the ground is just used up. We've left it alone for the past two years, just mowing it and looking at it. But I'm thinking we're going to be ready to start gardening next year, so it's been time to fix that soil. The meat birds started that work. They put fertilizer out and scratched and mostly put fertilizer out.

I thought we would run out of room for them, but we didn't at all. They barely touched half the ground. So it needs a lot more work. But what ground they did touch is looking so much better.

Back to the birds. Gideon did the work of two adults, Jeremy, Adam, and another couple of friends worked too. Esmond and Eowyn helped. Esmond worked like Gideon for a while before he ran off to play, and Eowyn helped catch the birds. I did do something! I cut off four feet and one head. But then Elinor hollered and I had to go take care of her. (I also brought us lunch and tried to help in a general way. But I do feel a little guilty that I didn't get my hands dirtier.) (Also, I wore gloves. So my hands didn't get dirty at all. I still washed them though.)

And we put a whole bunch of chickens in the freezer. Praise the Lord!

Jeremy cooked our first one on Sunday in the crockpot and it was delicious! Another way we are different. I would have kept them in the freezer longer because we might need them, but he's in the right here. We raise our meat and we get to eat it too.

1 comment

  1. That is awesome! Also, kudos to Gideon - way to go young man.


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