Our quest to know our food and how it was raised and fed has come to the end. At least paritally. We took our first batch of Cornish Cross meat chickens to the processor to become dinner. Hard day to say the least.
Amazingly we did not lose any before we delivered them to the dinner making place. Usually the standard 10% is lost prior to ever making it to process weight. I don't know if we are good at it or just got lucky with the chicks we got but we got 51 and still had 51 until yesterday.
Doyle built some cages to transport them in. The poultry processor is a little over an hour away and we got an early appointment to beat the heat. We caught them and loaded them into the cages we built and made a little shade for them. I really did not want to go with him but he needed a direction reader as we haven't been there before. We took 20 this first time and need to build a third cage when we take the other 31 down.
I think I will sit out the next visit. I actually stayed in the truck the whole time. Doyle said the place was brand new and very clean inside. All stainless steel and concrete with a quick and humane kill. I still felt awful all day long. I really am rethinking this "know my food source" stuff. I know they lived a better life than in a huge place where they are kept in 8" square cages for a 13" square bird but I still struggled. I must admit the coward's way is to know it only as it comes from the store and I kind of like it that way. This was not the cheaper way to go. I figure we have $10 into each bird start to finish but since 31 are yet to finish I am not sure just yet. But cost wasn't the point, the healthy, chemical and medication free food was. I hope they taste good. If I can eat them.
In this picture you can see that this bird dressed out at a little over 6 pounds. They all came between 5.5 and 6.5 pounds. The intake man at the processor said that our birds were in excellent shape and were clean and well kept. That made us feel good. We never were able to leave the house during this endeavor as these birds drank 25 gallons of water every day. It has been a long 9 weeks and we still have a week or two to go. Is it all worth it? I don't know yet. I will let you know how they taste when I finally get up the nerve to eat one. I won't waste them, that would be sacrificing what they did for us, but it may take me a week to actually cook one. I am proud of me for not crying but I still feel bad. I will get better with this but I won't be raising pigs for dinner any time soon.