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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Raising meat birds and butchering

As most of you know we raise the Cornish cross chickens for meat every year. Last year I had ordered from a hatchery and the genetics were not as good and the chicks did not grow as well for us. I have always tried to butcher at 6 weeks old and had 5lb or more birds. Last year the largest one didn't weigh that much. I ordered from Cackle hatchery this year and the birds were awesome. They more than met my expectations for meat birds. I feed the highest protein feed I can the first 2 weeks of life, round the clock and fed freely. The second 2 week period of their life drop the protein to about 22%, feed 24/7. The last 2 weeks of life they get finisher or feed that is non medicated and about 20 % protein, fed 24/7. I don't have a problem with sick birds, none are down and crippled, all good strong healthy birds. We got a lil off schedule with the birth of our first grandson but thas OK too. The birds we butchered today were 8 weeks old, none crippled, all good strong birds. They averaged 7 lbs each. They look like small young turkeys. We had to purchase 2 gallon zip top freezer bags to put these birds in, would not fit in the gallon size.

So if anyone wants to raise these birds for meat I highly recommend ordering from Cackle hatchery. They do grow just as well as the ones I always ordered from Marti poultry farms before they closed down. Most of these birds are frozen whole so we can cook them on the rotisserie  Some of the birds we did cut for fryers too and used the bony pieces to make stock to can. I did manage to get the stock cooked down today after butchering but am gonna wait till tomorrow to can it after we get finished butchering the last 8 birds. We did manage with help from Jason and Mary Kay to get 16 done today and we were all killed. And to think I use to do far more than that by myself in my younger days. Sucks to get older. It ain't for sissies I tell ya.

This is mothers day weekend. So I would like to take a second to wish all the mothers out there a very happy mothers day. God bless you all. 

Not much else happening on the farm with all the rain, so till next time , blessings from the McGuire homestead.


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