Chicken Report

The Buff Orpingtons are looking really good.  They’re at 12 weeks now so they should be ready to butcher in about 4 weeks.  So far I’m pleased with our method of raising chickens this year as opposed to last year.  Last year we raised Delaware chickens and once they were fully feathered we basically let them free range with free choice feed available as well but shut them up at night.  They took longer than we expected to be of butchering weight and we were unhappy with the quality and size of them.  The meat was tough and they only dressed out at about 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds.  I’m attributing this to being free range and developing too much muscle, and/or that particular breed of heritage chicken.  They made a wonderful broth, though, which we enjoyed in soups all winter.  With this year’s batch being in the chicken tractor they still get access to grass and bugs but can’t run it all off so hopefully they’ll be more of what we’re looking for in terms of quality and size.  I’ve just ordered another batch of chicks for delivery in a couple weeks, this time I got all heavies mixed breeds.  I’m on a search for the perfect heritage breed chicken!

Moving On

The three boys are in their final days with us.  Next weekend they’ll be going to their new home where they will be clearing brush and being pets for a local family.  I’m very lucky to have found a home for them as the little boys can be hard to sell.  They’ve been disbudded and castrated so are ready to be good citizens in their new life.  I care very much about my animals and will only sell them to good homes, and if that is impossible then they will be processed humanely by a reputable facility.  No sale barn for my kids.  In their last week here they’ve hit the jackpot–they get their mommies 24/7.  My method of milking my dairy goats is such that I milk once a day.  Every evening the kids are separated and in the morning I milk.  Then the kids spend the day with their moms and have free access to milk.  It works very well because if I can’t milk for whatever reason, the kids just stay with the does and do the milking for me.  When we go on vacation the kids will do the milking for me while we’re gone, how easy is that?  Having a dairy animal is not as difficult as people imagine.