Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Meat Chickens. Gone.

Finally - all that is left of the meat chickens is their empty pen. They are gone!

I can't wait to clean out this pen. It stinks!

Well not entirely gone - they are still cooling in the downstairs fridge. But thank heaven we finally got this done.

Our new schedule has made it hard to keep up with some of the "two person" farm chores so we were really overdue to butcher this group of meat chickens. Fortunately they weren't much trouble and they were laying eggs. Mostly they just happily meat-ed around and kept to themselves.

They were enormous. Like. Hugely fat. Filled with fat. Fat, fat, fatty-fat-fat. Which I've rendered down.

Our next project is to fire up the incubator and see if we can get any free meat to hatch from the eggs.

A couple questions have come up about this late-meat-project so I thought I'd answer them here.

Q:  Don't you have to butcher meat chickens at 9 weeks?
A:  Friend, the only thing you have to do in life is grow old and die. You can butcher your meat chickens whenever you want. Personally, we don't buy the "grow 'em out fast" route. We let them take their time for no other reason than the high protien feed is ridiculously expensive. We grow our meats out on corn and milk. Sure we get more fat but that's kinda how we like it.

Q: But aren't old meat chickens tough and gross?
A: We've never had a meat chicken that was not tasty and delicious. The only time we've had "slightly tough" meat was when we did not let the meat rest  a couple days in the fridge. As for gross.. meat chickens in general are gross. The longer you wait the more likely they are to have that "great muscle disease" and yes... that is very gross.

Q: How do you get eggs from meat chickens?
A: Just like regular chickens. The only reason that most folks don't see this is because they butcher the creepy meats so young.

Q: But I thought meat chickens couldn't breed?
A: I tell you the truth, there is nothing so horrible to watch as a a meat roo trying to get funky with one of the fatty ladies. It just doesn't work out. While the meat roos don't lack enthusiasm, with their oversized breasts and bad physical coordination, they just well... just no. So we bring in the big guns. Yep. We have a posse of regular big roos who like what the meat girls have to offer. I am too immature to go on any further about this. I'll let you know, tho, if any of the eggs work.

Q: I thought you didn't like to butcher in summer?
A: We don't! Ugh! It's horrible! Hot, sweaty, and stanky. Plus our garbage guy hates us. Seriously I ran out there and apologized to him after a recent butcher experience. We just chose the coolest day possible and got out there early. I'd love it if we had a walk in cold room for non-winter butchering. I know a guy who is working on this and am waiting to see how it turns out.

So smell ya later, meat chickens, thanks for the eggs. And now I'm going to run right out and get that pen shoveled out. I have a lot of hay to take up and it's going right in this spot.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Do you have fatty meat chickens left? Did you butcher last weekend?


Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

I m not sure if the meat chickens we get here in Australia are the same as yours but I am not sure ours would have lasted long enough to lay eggs. We did our in 2 batches and the first ones were at 9 weeks and the second ones at 12 weeks and the second ones were huge (around 2.5kg or between 5 and 6 lb to you). How big did yours end up? Ours spent most of their time sitting down and I am not sure how much longer their legs would have lasted.

Vera said...

We don't have any meat chickens here, just our normal flock of hens and cockerels. When any young cockerels start becoming a nuisance to the girls, then we put them into the freezer.
I have never had a tough chicken to eat, although the first ones we ate were stringy, and this was because I hurried the cooking of them, so I started slow cooking them.
And then I bought my All American Canner, and chicken has tasted even more fabulous ever since. Pop a frozen chicken into the canner for twenty minutes, leave overnight in the canner, then sort out what to do with the cooked meat then next day.

I am not sure that we would buy in meat birds. I think that we shall always use our own hen's eggs to keep the chicken numbers up. I think that we would be sensitive to too much controlled breeding of that type of bird.

Good luck with the cutting of the hay. Hope the weather stays fine for you so you can the job done.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

We started to get meat birds this spring but just had too much going on as we needed to replace the egg layers as well. I think they are hybrid birds and you might not get a meat bird even if they could mate. Now if you put a standard rooster in with them something might come from it.

Happy Farming Momma said...

Oh boy, it has been a while sense I have said hello to you.
I went from running my simple 7 acrea farm to whoops we are in a rental now. Other than the 2 dogs, 2 cats whom are all very confused about the housing situation as well, we only have chicken. *sobbing*
Any who, being in a neighborhood now, I can't wrap my head around how to raise my self some meaties(I may have to share them with the husband and kids if they make me lol). Uggg, save me. Kidnap me and set me free on a farm somewhere. ;)

Unknown said...

Hey OFG,

Just a note - we built a freestanding walk-in cooler room last fall, we were scrambling for options for butchering the pigz since the weather was promising to be strangely warm on our needful butchering date. Anyway, the thing turned out awesome...and pretty easy to do, all things considered. I recommend it, it is a useful tool to have around a place!

Keep at it! Kind Regards, Duncan

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