Differences Between Raising Heritage Chickens and Cornish Cross for Meat (Part 2 – Processing)

I don’t usually spend much time sharing the experience of processing chickens because usually people don’t think they want to hear it. But in the interest of sharing our observations, here goes!  This post will not contain any photos of actual processing.   Continue reading “Differences Between Raising Heritage Chickens and Cornish Cross for Meat (Part 2 – Processing)”

Heritage breed cockerel chickens for meat

Differences between raising heritage chickens and cornish cross for meat (part 1)

Today we harvested our five biggest heritage cockerels and it was an eye-opening experience. We didn’t kill them because of the 4 am crowing, or the fact that one of them bit our daughter, or because we are in dire need of adding more chicken to our freezer.  We did it because this is why they are here, why we are raising them.  We are exploring the sustainability of heritage breeds, as well as taking note of our experience raising different breeds.  They are here to feed us, and we thank them for their role.  We took the opportunity to compare to a batch of cornish cross chickens we also raised for meat, and in this post I’ll go over some of the key differences in the actual raising of the birds. Continue reading “Differences between raising heritage chickens and cornish cross for meat (part 1)”

Rhode Island Red Broiler Chicken behind fence

Essential tips to improve broiler chicken survival rates

If you’ve ever ordered chicks, you might have noticed a statistic for the “survival rate” or “mortality rate” or something like that included with the description of the breed.  This rate is to give us an idea of how many chicks will actually survive long enough to process.  Typically people assume a 20% loss in the chickens they raise for meat, and thus make sure to order more chicks to overcome the inevitable deaths of birds that don’t reach market weight.  I saw one hatchery proudly stating their chicks had a 70% survival rate.  That’s 3 out of every 10 chickens dying!  We need to do as much as we can to improve these odds.   Continue reading “Essential tips to improve broiler chicken survival rates”

How to catch a cockerel

Midday chicken chores have me and the little girls running from one side of the yard to the other with water, food, and entertainment a few times a day.  We fill up the food for the broiler chicks, who are doing really well in their bigger pen.  I haul water, refill and clean waterers, and my three-year old pokes sticks and weeds into the fencing, for her entertainment and theirs. Today, however, we had an escape! Continue reading “How to catch a cockerel”