December 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm #253973
Well let me tell ya how it all began, friday afternoon a few weeks ago we headed home afterwork past the hatchery in Luddenham, just outside Penrith. I had been tinking for this a while now so not spur of the moment decision really, but getting them that afternoon sure was. We stopped to price them and have a chat, and left with 24 day olds. A bag of chichen starter and a good send off by the kind Pom working there.
It’s been 3 weeks now and boy all they do is eat, sleep and drink. They have grown and according to the Pom 8 weeks from now you may slaughter them for the freezer.
Cost: $2 each less if you buy more birds
Chick starter then grower mash for the last 3 weeks (we’re on our 3rd bag bought yesterday)
Large round Plastic Feeder $28 they should make less mess, saving on food.
Saw dust $11 a big bag Change saw dust every few days
I did not buy a heating lamp for extra warmth but gave them an large carboard box to cuddle up to each other inside a wooden crate with wire over the top, never lost one. now they in the east wing of the chook palace and doing fine.
Thoughts on this as a great money saver: when set up and doing round 2 Yes it will be. You don’t need a very large area to grow your own meat chooks 1.5 X 2.4 mtr Thats where they in atm
Next hurdle will be to slaughter them a few at a timeDecember 16, 2010 at 9:43 pm #485216
That is where I got mine chester, but I only got 6 – did three on Wednesday. I also managed to score 2 week old chicks for the price of day olds as someone hadn’t collected their order. Hope you go OK on yours. I forgot what a messy smelly business plucking and gutting was. Want to make a plucker someday.December 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm #485217
That’s where I got our chook tractor layers from too! I have been thinking about meat chooks. Got a good book on slaughtering from Windsor Book Barn too, lots of piccies:sick:
NevDecember 19, 2010 at 11:57 am #485218
Great way to start. In future you might want to experiment with better flavour and texture, etc, e.g. by pasture rearing, or changing the diet off basic commercial stuff, or outcrossing to a dual purpose bird (you get better health, more active foraging and nicer, healthier meat), but all power of good to you in the meantime. 🙂
For processing, have you tried skinning? You don’t need hot water, it’s a *lot* easier than plucking, doesn’t bring that horrible scalded feather smell, and it’s easier to take out the internal organs. We usually poach rather than roast a skinned bird, but as long as you use extra moisture and cover the meat you can roast perfectly well too.
Good luck with the processing. Once you learn how to process you never forget and it does get easier over time (though I always find the killing hard… I can’t look at a chicken without admiring what a wonderful creature it is…).
Best of luck!December 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm #485219
I’d *possibly* be interested in this. But I’ll probably buy a roll of that electrified mesh so that I can rotate the chooks around the paddocks somehow, along with a portable “house” for them
The only part that puts me off is the processing… are there many abattoirs that process the meat?
Also, we don’t often have roast chicken, much prefer the fillets, so would go through at least 4 breast or thigh fillets a week… we’d probably end up wasting a fair bit of the meat… there is only so much chicken stock you can use from the carcasses.December 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm #485220
We have tried commercial meat chickens before. They certainly grow like mad. They do nothing but eat and poo, and then they sit in their poo and eat some more.
Overall we were disappointed by flavour. They still tasted like commercial chicken no matter what we did to them. We went back to Australorps. They don’t grow as fast but in waiting a bit longer you are rewarded with fantastic flavour and texture (and leaner meat, meat chickens run to fat easily).December 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm #485221
Going to eat one of the chooks tonight – I think I stuffed up the weight somehow, it looks bigger than a size 17…. but I can’t remember what size I usually get anyway. We roast our chooks often, so skinning doesn’t really suit us. What is left over from the roast we use in salad and pies. Yum. One of the other chooks I might process for the breast thighs and drumsticks.
Eventually when we get some land, I hope to have a heavy breed rooster and raise cross-breeds for meat on pasture (rotating after a goat and sheep). These chooks we have now at least have had the advantage of as much exercise as they want (little), sunlight, greens and the occasional maggot (they never took to snails).December 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm #485222
How was your chook? feyWind
Being my first time with the meat chooks, it’s good to get a nice responce like this.I give mine their main feed of the commercial chich starter. Lately they have been getting a bit of greens and scraps as well cause there are 3 orpington chicks and 1 x frizzle silky and mom frizzle with them.(poor thing she must be frazzled with so many chicks lol)
They are getting big fast now. When this food is finished I think we might start with turkey and meat bird food, or would grower mash be better.December 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm #485223
I used pullet grower – probably not the best, but what I could find – a bit over $1 a kilo. (Cumberland produce on Blaxland Rd). They wouldn’t eat scraps but would eat greens – probably because they didn’t have a mum chook to teach them.
Chook tasted quite good – seemed to be a little firmer than shop meat, but tastier and juicier, though some of that could be the extra herbs in the stuffing – whole lemon and fresh oregano and lemon thyme in the cavity and butter with the herbs under the breast skin. Normally just do a lemon in the cavity, but this worked even better.December 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm #485224
Yummmmm it sound lovely We have 3 produce stores in our area (Penrith) so plenty to choose from. I got a bag of grower mash today incase we run out of food over Christmas. The chookies love rice, greens cut up in smaller pieces so they all get some.
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