Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Woo hoo! Now I officially feel like a true farmer-wannabe because we are heading into the realm of raising our own MEAT! We just purchased 15 adorable, little fluff-balls that will grow to about 8 pounds each and become broilers, legs, thighs, breasts, stock, barbeque, etc.

I am so glad to have opportunity to know, with 100% certainty, what is in the food we are eating! We eat a lot of chicken, and, with all the press lately about standard chicken farms and arsenic, it’s unnerving – and downright scary – to me that we are ingesting these chemicals. I am pretty conscientious about buying organic chicken, but there are some times that I just CAN’T (money, usually), so you can imagine my relief that in about 7 weeks, we will have 15 chickens that were fed organic feed and allowed to roam freely in about a half-acre of grass, trees, and bushes, foraging for all the worms, grubs, and bugs they can eat!

We purchased our Cornish Cross chickens from the Farmer’s Supply Co-op here, in town. As cacklehatchery.com reports, “The Jumbo Cornish Cross Chicken is a fast developing; broad breasted [sic] meat type [sic] chicken. Ready to dress in six weeks or sooner. Feed high protein [sic] feed that is 21% or better… Here’s a picture of the little peepers now:

cornishcrosschicks(photo credit joyfulhome.wordpress.com)

 

And here’s what they’ll probably look like when it’s time for the chopping block:

cornish_cross(photo credit chickenbreedslist.com)

I am making jokes, but it really is a pretty serious and somber occurrence. We have been very straightforward with our kids that these chicks, though cute and fluffy, will grow fast and are not pets. They are more of a “hands-off” bird than the pets they have made our layers to be. When they reach full maturity at the ripe, old age of 6 or 7 weeks, we will thank the birds for their lives and ask God to bless the chickens as nourishment for our bodies.

We’ll keep you posted on their growth and progress, and we’ll give details about how everything goes when we butcher. It is our first time experiencing this, so, as is befitting the nerdy, inquisitive types that we are, we have been reading as much material on the subject as we can get in our hands. The Mr. wants to butcher them Amish-style: cutting their heads off (some use rebar), then skinning the chicken after it stops hopping around. I would like to have a couple of chickens that we leave the skin on, scald, and pluck. I know that his way is easier, but it would be nice to have a couple for roasting or slow-cooking. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly. Wish us luck!

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