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  1. re:
    Chicken feed

    As noted in the article, chickens are omnivorous. Chickens and turkeys consume pretty much anything, but prefer bugs and green shoots.

    For chicken or turkey meat sold in grocery stores, avoid it if the label says ‘vegetarian’ since the birds were probably fed scratch containing soy and cottonseed. Neither of those are fit for animal feed, not for chickens nor for cattle.

    And as noted in the article, factory farmed animals are confined in appalling conditions, requiring heavy doses of antibiotics to make it to market. Every time we eat animals raised with antibiotics, we remove that category of antibiotics from helping us during an illness. Epidemics of Staph and MRSA are directly related to consuming meat overflowing with antibiotics introduced in animal feed. This is an environmental disaster… and may lead to the end of ‘Life As We Know It’.

    I grew-up on a farm, I live on a farm, I teach farming. I have some experience in the matter.

  2. I surely can’t say it’s fun, but killing and processing your own chickens would save you a fair amount of money, 75 dollars for your 25 chickens. We catch, then hang the chickens upside down a while. This causes them to relax which makes deheading them much easier. We have chopped off their heads or cut them off with a knife ( or our sons liked to use a machete). We let them hang a bit to bleed out then take down and process. My husband doesn’t like chicken skin so we just skin them and then remove the guts. I am not fast but can skin and gut one in 4-5 min. We then rinse them and place them into a clean 5 gallon bucket filled with cold water to cool them . then we take them into the house to cut and wrap. I take the necks and backs and pressure cook off the meat and then can the meat and the strained broth. If you didn’t cut up the chickens it really wouldn’t take that long. We too like knowing what our chickens ate and that they had a pleasant life while they lived.

  3. Animal processors earn their money but my budget is tight so I harvest my own animals. The first couple of times you kind of fumble around but after that you get better and faster. For chickens, I follow about the same process as “Sis” but I leave the harvested chickens in an ice cooler until the next day. Then I either pressure can them or freeze them. Be sure to save the carcass and feet for making bone broth. The feet contain a lot of collagen and gelatin which are very healing. I usually freeze them until the cold weather comes when I have more free time.

  4. I was wondering if anyone has operational experience with a Geodesic Chicken Coop?

    Zip Tie Domes – Geodesic Chicken Coops, https://www.ziptiedomes.com/kitindex.htm
    Fun with the Geodesic Chicken Coop, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvmoOFJwctk, 3:10
    Building a Geodesic Chicken Coop for Pastured Poultry, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bek9WTIVD7g, 3:49
    Moving the Geodesic Chicken Coop, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NlR2mwTtlk, 4:30
    How to Attach Handles to Your Geodesic Chicken Coop, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU6VRplspPE, 1:19
    The Best Chicken Coop is a Geodesic Dome (8 Reasons), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mizMrlz5wXY, 15:16
    How to Make a Greenhouse Door for your Geodesic Dome, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlqK8aSDRKM, 4:33

  5. I think that it is advantageous to process your own chickens. One problem with taking your chickens to a processing plant is that you do not know if the chickens you receive from them are in fact the same you took to them. Another problem is that pathogens that exist in a large processing plant can infect your chickens. If you process your own chickens you know for sure that the chickens you are eating are your own and are as pathogen-free as possible.

    1. Actually, in this particular case, we were sure we had the same chickens. This is a little family run processing plant, and you have the option of staying there and watching the whole process, or going and coming back to pick them up (the first time we went and came back, the 2nd we stayed). Further, they make appointments, and our chickens were the last ones of the day, and they are only processing one batch of chickens at a time.

  6. My parents and grandparents raised chickens for eggs and meat. When time came to butcher my grandmother would cut their heads off with an axe. It was the job of us three small boys to chase the now headless birds and bring them to Mom and Dad who would pluck, singe and gut them. I remember the horrible smell, like burning hair, when the small feathers were burnt off with a burning rolled newspaper. Dad killed hogs, an uncle would even kill and dress out a beef, but would take it to a processer for butchering.
    I miss those days.

  7. After raising and selling poultry for years, I take mine to an Amish family for butchering. They run a wonderful place they my turkeys done in no time flat. They use a small gas motor to power the plucker after scalding them the ladies do the rest of the preparing. Their facility is so clean that you could eat off the floor (not that you’d want to!) And Andy is what I’d say a continuing education Amish might look like. The neighboring Amish bring vet/medical problems to him and he helps them solve them such as mastitis in their dairy herd. All organic of course!

  8. Thanks for the article, havent done a batch in few years i think maybe this year i’ll reclaim the chicken tractor and start again. If i had the option id have someone process mine too, Its alot of work to do solo and a homemade chicken plucker still cost us 100 bucks by the end of it. Works great though, batches of 50 make long days, i love the skin though yummm, i also got fast at processing the birds into tenders, breasts, wings and thighs. Really improves the usefulness of daily cooking.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  9. I cruise through small batches of birds pretty quick with a little drill-powered plucking attachment called the Power Plucker. I got it on Amazon (I think) a few years back and its processed many dozens of birds, along with one of their metal processing cones. They offer a kit that comes with the plucking device, a metal cone, and a Mora brand knife

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