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  1. I raise Farm Rangers and have for years. The robustness of this breed is significant in comparison to those chosen by commercial enterprises. Even placed along side of my layer chickens they shine for sturdiness.

    The chickens at slaughter allowed to complete rigor mortis before packaging adds immensely to the overall flavor as well…..something commercial processing does not do.

    The enjoyment of not only knowing one raised and farm processed a solid bird, but, the flavor, as well, will sell itself to any would be grower.

    Try this one time and you will never go back to Cornish or grocery store commercial chicken again.

    1. Believe it or not, in cages that we put in our 2 horse trailer. We had one rabbit cage, and one dog kennel and I think we also had a few smaller cages as well. I didn’t want to stress them out too much. The settled down really quickly, and just hung out for the ride.

  2. Good article – my first thought was, in a SHTF situation your reluctance about butchering will be overridden by hunger and necessity. Hunger is a motivator like no other.

    We’ve had chickens on and off for years, and while “free range” is easy and allows them to forge for bugs and weed seeds, be forewarned. You could lose your entire flock in a matter of hours or minutes. We have had both foxes and dogs (neighbor’s pets) decimate our flocks a couple times. Just an inconvenience now, this could be a real disaster in a survival situation. (if that happened in a SHTF scenario, I think we’d be eating Dog Bulgogi that night).

    I haven’t tried them yet, but I am very interested in obtaining some icelandic chickens. They’re supposed to be very hardy. Their appearance indicates a very wide gene pool and they apparently retain the “broodiness” trait, which would be very useful when the US mail and local feed store are no longer in business.


  3. We started raising meat birds upon our arrival to the redoubt area 7 years ago and have tried both the rangers and the Cornish crosses and have returned to the cornies only, for us it was a matter of taste, we found that the rangers had more of the dark meat ie. legs and thighs vs the the Cornish which tend to have more of the white meat.
    What we have found works best is to limit the food intake to 8 hours per day and to provide them enough area to free range, when the birds are on a 22% protein feed this adds up to a fast growth cycle, so by limiting their food intake and giving them a chance to roam some we eliminated the problems that you had mentioned in your article. So what we end up with is a 12 week time to mature and that give us an average bird weight of 5-6 pounds per bird.
    We like to get our chicks around the first of April and this gives them a chance to mature before the added stresses of the hotter weather set in.
    And finally the processing, i don’t think anybody likes to process birds we just happen to be so fortunate to have a poultry processor nearby and it is great, First thing you have to do is make an appointment for the processing (they are very busy and i’m sure it’s because others don’t like to do their own birds too) and timing is everything here because you don’t want to extend the feeding time nor do you want them to be under weight either.
    You back your rig up to the back door they empty it and you come back in a few hours and everything is in vacuum sealed bags with the weight and date affixed to the package.
    I personally like to hang around and help unload the trailer and observe the process just in case i have to take on the task some day myself. And to educate myself on all things chicken.
    This last spring a new owner had taken over the operations as the previous owners had retired, kind of sad to see them go but i’m sure they needed the rest.
    As a retired carpenter i will approach the new owners this year and will do as i do with others and offer my services of carpentry, building etc. in barter or trade for processing, otherwise i will look forward to seeing them again this summer knowing that the freezer will be again stocked up with some of the best tasting organically raised birds.

    1. Camp Doubt,

      You must live somewhere near Fruitland, ID. That is the processor we took our chickens to both times, and we really liked it. I say that, because these people just took over the processing plant and it just seems like too much of a coincidence.

      Nice to meet you neighbor!

      1. Nice to meet you too M.C.

        You are correct in your assumption, We’re up here where the high desert meets the pine forests and as you are quite aware it is an extremely lovely place to reside, I’m sure we will cross paths someday, until then peace be with you and in all that you put your hands to!

  4. The new chicks will usually find the feed but if raising the Cornish cross kind ( my husband prefers white meat) they’re really dumb! So place their beaks into the water and then into the feed. We ve raised meat chickens for at least 18 years.

  5. One of the reasons we decided to raise and butcher our own chickens was due to the substantial amounts of fecal residue caused by mechanical processing. I recommend checking to see what process is used and how many bleach baths the meat is subjected to in the process.

  6. I’ve got a farmer nearby who advertises a mobile chicken processing service. So he’ll come to your place and butcher / process the chickens for you. I haven’t done meat chickens yet, only laying hens, but the service where he comes to your house seems really appealing.

  7. Michelle & Camp Doubt:
    Thanks for the great info! What is the price for processing per chicken or drop off? Nate: What is the price for the mobile processing? Just trying to get a frame of reference. All Best,

    1. Seymour Liberty:

      Where i have my birds processed the price last season if i recall correctly was $3.25 per bird and if you wanted the gizzard’s that was another .50 cents per.

      I continue to work at getting my costs down per bird and the best i have done is around $10.00 per bird, total cost and that is from picking up the chicks at the hatchery to putting them in the freezer which is a high price if you compare it to the grocery store, but there really is no comparison when you consider what it is your getting. Especially the satisfaction you get in raising it yourself. BTW, Trader Joe’s sells their organic birds for over $20.00 ! Good luck to you

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