It’s been an interesting weekend. Half of our family went to Mr. C’s farm to help process his broilers (meat chickens) yesterday, while the rest of us remained at home. The crew that went to Mr. C’s had a full day of catching chickens, cleaning the innards out, plucking feathers, helping get the barn ready for a load of hay as well as helping Mr. C’s daughter with her chores. Everyone came home tired but pretty happy, had learned a lot and were excited about farming and expanding our fledgling farm.
Upon returning they also brought a new home for our laying hens. It’s bigger, can hold 25, but I think we have 27 in it. It has 8 nesting boxes, which is a blessing since our hens should start laying any day now. We are anxiously awaiting for the arrival of their yummy fresh eggs. As it was, today when Mr. C came to pick up the trailer he brought us two chickens that had not been picked up yesterday and we ate them today. I don’t think I have ever eaten meat that fresh, I mean it’s barely a day old. At least not since I was a kid when my parents bought fresh pork and beef from friends who were local farmers. That’s just how it was done. Back to the chicken, it was so moist and flavorful. The most delicious chicken I have ever tasted. Seriously. And all we did was roast it in the oven. We didn’t do anything fancy with it. All I can say is I can’t wait to raise our own broilers next year and have a freezer full for our family.
The new moveable chicken coop isn’t anything fancy. We had to clean it out a bit before putting new shavings in the nesting boxes. The coop is actually modeled after Joel Salatin’s, who is the owner of Polyface Farms in Virginia. He’s written several books that we highly recommend, even if you aren’t a farmer. He is very entertaining. Our girls love his books and have read some of them more than once.
Of course, what’s living on a farm without a trailer ride….(and yes, after the photo was taken I was on the trailer with the children)
Today we moved the hens into their new home. I did not get photos of them all moved in. I’ll try to remember to add some tomorrow. It was a little nerve wrecking to put three breeds of chickens together. They’ve been all in separate coops since they’ve been outside. Our hens are beautiful. They are healthy. They don’t have missing feathers. So to see the roosters and a couple of hens establishing pecking order was a little new to me. Thankfully it was established within seconds and not one chicken was hurt.
Chickens and Turkeys
We love our Buff Orpingtons. They are sweet hens. Though the rooster showed a different side when he charged at my oldest daughter last night. First time that’s happened and let’s just say that I let our pup to teach him a lesson. No blood, but definitely a fright. No rooster is going to attack my children. We didn’t kill him or allow the dog to kill him, though I was sorely tempted too. He has another chance because he is good to the hens but if he ever does it again, I’ll enjoy seeing him on a platter now that half the family knows how to butcher a chicken.
Our poor chickens and turkeys had quite the night last night. We went out to feed them this morning and found feathers near every coop. Then we noticed our largest turkey had blood on its neck and the chicken wired bowed out on one side of the coop. We believe a predator actually got into their coop and bless that big turkey for saving all of them. We had to staple down the chicken wire to make it more secure. We hope to sell half our turkeys, keep three to eat and keep two to mate and raise our own turkeys. That’s the plan right now. My husband actually sold one turkey yesterday to one of the other guys processing chickens…and he says he’s not a salesman!
We still have to figure out winter housing for the chickens and the two turkeys we intend to keep, thankfully we have a bit more time to do so. So many things to do and so little time…