We ordered our laying chicks a week and half ago only to find out that most hatcheries in America are out or seriously backlogged with orders. That was the Run On Chickens post and I must admit I was truly surprised. I have thought a lot about our nation coming to it's food senses and starting to get back to the basics, I just didn't think it would all happen this year. I decided that since I could not control everyone else, I would make my family healthier and raise our own chickens for eggs. It took a long time to convince my husband. The tour to my friend Brenda's beautiful coop finally did the trick. Her chickens are happy, healthy, clean and friendly. All the traits he was sure weren't possible. So we ordered 30 of own and plan to supply eggs to all of our family. I was so excited to finally find a hachery that had most of the breeds I wanted and ordered quickly so they would not run out while I gazed at the pretty pictures. They told me to call in a week to get my ship date. June. What? Yep, June. Boy was I mad! But as they quickly explained, I feel fortunate I am getting them at all. Lots and lots of people aren't. So that leads me to the next topic.
My husband thinks if we are going to feed animals every day, like pygmy goats and laying chickens, we might as well raise meat chickens too! I must say I was not on board with this plan in the beginning. I am still not sure I am. See, I move worms out of the way and let spiders go when I find them inside. I don't fish or hunt. I will eat it. I just don't want to get to know it first. But all that comes back to my plan to know my food before I feed it to my family. I don't mean know it's name and the color of it's eyes, but to know how it ate and what it was exposed to before it made it to my dinner plate. Meat chickens are most commonly the Cornish Cross shown in the picture above. There are others varieties and all have good traits but this is the fastest growing, plumpest bird. To me, the longer I "know" it, the harder it will be to eat it. This plan may go totally wrong but I have researched this all winter. The pros and the cons of this particular breed and the hundreds of reasons I will wish I had chosen another. But I want it over with quickly. We will use a processor to harvest our birds for dinner. You take them live and pick them up hours later in a sack for the freezer. Quick, clean and humane. As humane as eating your pal can be. I believe their life will be infinitely better in my care than that of the large raisers like Foster Farms. Even though it will still be short. This breed is considered a terminal bird, and comes to you as a chick with a short life expectancy. This means even if I become attached, which I doubt will happen, it would be cruel not to process and will likely die of some other ailment like growing too fast for it's systems to keep up.
I guess it took me a long time to get to the point here. I ordered 50 this morning. We built a permanent room in the barn, I will show pics of that later today. That room may become the pygmy goat kidding room if this goes badly. I hope I will still be able to eat chicken after all this. We ordered enough to jump right in with both feet and feed several to each of our family members. Wish me luck. I think I will need it.