October 12, 2010

New Farm Additions Coming Tomorrow!

Pictures from our broilers from this summer.

 Tomorrow we have some new additions joining us on the farm.  Well, for a short time anyways. 

We are going to be getting some more meat chickens!  Our meat chickens this summer were such a success, we can't WAIT to have more.

These little guys stayed inside only about a week or 2, then we put them outside in the summer warmth.  Daily, we moved their brooder to new grass.  I also supplemented their "broiler feed" with cracked corn and sunflower seeds.  They LOVED the sunflower seeds!!! 

We also raised them about 2- 2 1/2 weeks BEYOND their expected butcher date.  If you read anything about broiler chickens, you see that right around the time when they need to be butchered, the chickens start getting to heavy for their frame, then they just lay and eat because their legs can't withstand the weight of their bodies.  Ours, being 2 to 2 1/2 weeks OVER that butcher date, were still RUNNING around in the pasture!  I couldn't believe it!  Each day that went by that we couldn't spend the time to butcher, I expected there to be a dead chicken , but they were VERY healthy!

As for the meat, there was so much meat on one of those chickens that if fed my family of 6, TWICE!  We could have a crock pot chicken one day and the next have chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, or what ever.  I gave one to my sister, and she said she had never had such a big chicken!  And the taste, YUM!  It really can't be beat!

So, our little guys will be coming tomorrow.  We wanted to try to get some more chickens in before the weather got cold because we would like to keep them on pasture!  I also have a new feed mixture I would like to try on them this time, something more natural.

Oh, and we aren't finished!  We still have MORE new additions coming in about 2 weeks! 

Have any of you raised broiler chickens?  How did you raise them, on pasture, in an enclosed yard?  How did you like the meat? 

Our broilers from this summer.


Alicia said...

We raised our first batch of butcher chickens this year. I ordered them through my feed store. When they arrived they were Red Cornish Cross. I was not very impressed. While they were hardy in our hot days and cool nights (sometimes a 50degree temperature drop), handled the pasturing well, they seemed to need a lot more time to fill out. And we didn't have the extra time to wait.
They are delicious, don't have the big fat deposits like the store bought birds do, but finished out rather small.
We'll be raising more next year, but I'll be ordering directly from a hatchery myself.

Alla said...

Yes, Sara I am right now raising 50 chicks for butchering. I feed them a natural feed that I get at my local feed store that they mix themselves. It has no antibiotics or additives that are unnatural. I start them on it as soon as I get them, never buying chick starter with antibiotics, etc. I also use it for my laying hens. It's just to cold to have them on pasture at night here right now. Is the corn and sunflower seeds the only grain along with the pasture? Home grown chicken is the BEST!

Sarah said...

Alicia- We had Black Broilers early this year, and they were also very small. We tried to let them go a few weeks longer and they started to die. SO we had to butcher them small. We also couldn't put them out to pasture because he got them in like February or something. I won't do that again! I will raise all of mu broilers in warmer weather!

Alla- I wish we had a natural feed at our feed mill. I think I MAY have them mix up a special mix for me tho... We DID feed the broilers the commercial broiler mix PLUS the corn and sunflower seeds BUT this time it will be more like cracked corn, roasted soy bean meal, oats, kelp, oyster shell, maybe some sort of vitamin supplement, sunflower seeds (because it makes them happy!), and not sure what else I will use... I suppose I need to get it around real quick! :) I am feeding almost this exact same thing to our layers and their response it GREAT! I will be writing more about that later this week... :)

Sonja said...

I'd love to hear some of the references you've used in figuring your feed out. Also, will you "light" your layers to get eggs through winter? We have our first layers and trying to decide what to do. I like the idea of letting them go natural, but don't like not having eggs. :)

Kim said...

Ditto on Sonja's question. I also would like to know if you butchered them yourself or if you have someone do it for you. I don't know anyone that has done it themselves. A friend of mine paid $6 per chicken to have hers processed! I don't want to do that.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

This is all very good info as we are getting our first meats and layers in the spring! Looking forward to your info and answers to the big questions! Thank you!