Broiler Chicken Update

4 weeks ago we got 11 chicken dinners broiler chickens because they will put quality meat on our table quicker any other livestock. And, by raising them ourselves, we are opting out of the profoundly inhumane industrial chicken-production system.

We chose the cornish cross, a hybrid of white cornish and white plymouth rock genetics, because they grow rapidly and have fewer feathers to pluck (that’s why they look a little mangy). If this goes as planned, we’ll probably order 25 more in September, to fill the freezer with humanely pasture raised chicken before it gets too cold for chickens on pasture.

They were kept in the brooder in the barn initially, but they’re just about fully feathered now and probably weigh about 3.5 lbs each, so over the weekend we moved them (and the open bottomed brooder) to the orchard where they’ll have access to all the grass and bugs they can eat. We had planned to move them earlier, but Mr. Awesome’s ankle did not allow.

We (Mr. Awesome) move(s) the brooder daily to provide access to fresh grass and insects. By putting the broilers in the orchard (that needs all the help it can get) we’re hoping to decease the orchard pests without the use of pesticides and provide a bit of fertilizer (aka chicken poop) at the same time. So far, it seems to be working fine for the chickens, and that’s good enough for me. In addition to what they forage, we free feed them 19% protein grower feed.

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