We usually kill our
heirloom broilers at 12 weeks, but this year our first batch went
ten days longer because I had family visiting and didn’t have time
to dispatch the broilers. The experience proved that an
early dispatch date not only lowers
feed cost per pound of meat, it also keeps the tranquility on the farm
high. For their last week of life, our cockerels made a
constant ruckus, not only crowing in the morning, but also chasing
our pullets far to frequently and beating up the younger batch of
broilers I had consolidated into the flock. I was very glad
to see the three spare roosters go!
though, that I only mentioned the spare roosters, not the spare
hens. We’ve decided to increase our layer flock so we’ll
definitely get off the storebought-egg bandwagon come fall.
So I was thrilled to discover that, of the seventeen chicks that
hatched early this spring, thirteen were girls! (Or perhaps
the six I
were boys, even though I was trying to select for pullets
there?) Anyway, a baker’s dozen young hens should have us
swimming in eggs this winter, which is a good thing since we seem
to eat more eggs every year as our enhanced
pasturing system makes them taste better and better.
We did make one
positive change to our broiler production this year, though.
We’ve been using a rubber band around broilers’ feet during the
kill stage ever since we started, and the band is always tricky
and sometimes fails. Mark decided to see how a simple length
of rope knotted around the legs would work, and it turned out to
be more effective and easier. Farewell, rubber bands!
raise lots of broilers without spending hours cleaning out