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!

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