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Chicken Part 1

So you have a bit of space and you have decided that you want to be a bit more healthy. Protein is important. There are many sources of protein in the veggie world. You could eat only vegetables and get enough protein if you select properly. In our American diet though meat or meat products is how we get our over abundance of protein be it from Milk, Eggs, Beef, Chicken, etc etc.  Since we have some space and the costs are not insurmountable for chicken and you have options with chicken that is where we are heading first.

You need to decide if you want meat or eggs. There are some varieties of chicken that produce meat and eggs decently but once you slaughter no more eggs so keep that in mind. Older birds are also tougher and generally are cooked differently then younger. If you go to the store and buy chicken for meat most times those are young birds. Eggs are a longer term investment in both care and infrastructure. You need to recognize that those birds can produce for 1-3 years on average and do not start until around 16 to 20 weeks old. Meat birds can be slaughtered between 6-16 weeks old depending on variety.

Are you going to keep them in a chicken coop? Are you going to use a chicken tractor? Are you going to let them free range? In our area we have a large number or predators from coyote to barn cats to eagles and owls. So our birds need to be secure. We are using a variation of Joel Salatin style tractor. You can see what his look like here. We will have a blog post when ours is finished as well as a chick brooder. Since they will be ready to slaughter in less than 16 weeks we elected to make a cheaper tractor for our first go at it.

Now you need to select the kind of birds you want. I would suggest a local hatchery. We are in Iowa and there is one just a couple of hours away that has a pretty good reputation. We could also get birds at a variety farm stores, tractor supply, country living etc etc. We elected to order from Murray MacMurray Hatchery. They have a guide to help selecting a variety you will like. We went with Jumbo Cornish Cross Rock which is most common found in grocery stores from my understanding. Since Natalie is not a huge meat eater we wanted to keep it somewhat familiar. They do have a plethora of choices that you can choose from.

Doug

 

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1 thought on “Chicken Part 1

  1. […] I posted that we were building a chicken tractor. After a discussion with my mother I realized that some people do not know what this is […]

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