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Chickens for meat without the butchering.

Her feats of lice and disease were unfounded

We bought our five acres - complete with an old house, a small orchard, a garden, an old dairy barn and a chicken coop - about six years ago. We bought the property to accommodate horses and I was not sure if I would ever have chickens. But with encouragement from a friend and a series of articles about chicks in the local paper, I decided to give it a try. Now I would like to pass on some of that encouragement.

I read all the poultry books in our local library and decided, despite fears of lice and disease, to start with eight Rhode Island Red pullets (girl chicks) to raise for a laying flock.

That first year met with such success (They all lived! No lice! No disease!) that the following year I decided to try raising some fryers.

Before getting the chicks, I read everything I could on butchering, and decided butchering was not for me. So I tried to find someone else to do it.

I called the local mobile butchers and asked if they did chickens. The reaction was generally the same from all of them.

"You want what?"

Or an incredulous, " Chickens? No!

I called the county extension office. They recommended calling the veterinarian. He recommended calling the county extension office. They gave me the numbers of some local poultry clubs. I asked the farrier, and at the feed store. A woman at the feed store knew a man who took his turkeys "somewhere" to be butchered.

After all my searching, I got the same phone number from the man with the turkeys and from a nice woman with one of the poultry associations. It's a meat shop about 45 minutes from here where they butcher, raise organic chickens and meat, and guarantee that you get your own chickens back.

For four years now, I've been raising a batch of about 35 Cornish cross chickens each spring and paying someone else to butcher them. It adds to the cost, but if it weren't for this service I'd probably be buying chicken at the grocery store.

This year I'm raising my own turkeys (knowing I won't be the one to butcher them). On one hand I feel like I'm missing out on part of the food cycle by not doing my own butchering. On the other hand, I know I would stick to laying hens if this option were not available.

I enjoy the chickens so much now that my laying flock has grown to 18 chickens of seven different breeds, and last year I entered a rooster in the Western Washington Fair. He was disqualified because his comb was not up to the standard for his breed. But he passed the veterinary inspection, and I considered that a victory. I had a lot of fun, and will try again this year, but with more information about the breed.
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Author:Hanna, Mary
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Previous Article:Build a better brooder (chick brooder)
Next Article:Chickens: the most common homestead livestock.

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