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Chicken or the egg?

January 7, 2010

My Facebook status was recently the following, “is trying to convince her husband to raise and slaughter chickens for eating purposes. This is not going well.” I have a ridiculously idyllic image of raising chickens in my mind. It does not involve chickens getting sick, attacking our kids or dachshund, or dealing with the large quantities of poop that I am certain are involved. It involves me happily collecting eggs and magically slaughtering them. In the past, we purchased our eggs, yogurt, whole chickens and milk at a small local farm. The children saw the chicks when they arrived that were to be raised specifically for eating purposes later. They did not seem fazed. The children and I also collected eggs on occasion. When we picked up our roaster chickens later and our eldest asked what happened to the chickens, we flat out told the children that the chickens in our cooler were the ones whom had been in the chicken tractors.

However, we were not truly involved in the day to day operation of the farm, so we have no clue about the commitment it requires to care for chickens. I have considered purchasing a mobile chicken coop, chicken tractor, or more likely given my frugal tendencies convincing my spouse to build the requisite chicken house and tractors. While they don’t look too difficult to build, our concerns run more to the aspect of caring for them while the children and I are on holiday at my parents’ in July for a month at a time. I haven’t even done my due diligence on feed costs; I’d rather not feed them Monsanto based products.

Then there’s the guinea fowl that free range all over our nearby city’s main street area. Every time the children see them, they erupt in screams of, “Chicken mama! Mmmm, let’s have it for dinner. Hit it with the car mama then it can’t run away.” I’m fairly certain that the children understand that things die, as a relative and their pet bird have died of recent memory, but I’m not sure exactly how they will handle raising chicks only to watch their parents slaughter them later. I’ll be volunteering for five hours of slaughtering chickens late spring at the local farm – so we’ll see how I handle it. It may be the end of my chicken owning dreams!

I am a woman who can completely drown herself in due diligence research, so this would likely be a project that takes place in 2011. We live in what is considered “County” so we are fortunate not to have any restrictions. So I’ll be pondering this for the remainder of the year likely, and will update as plans emerge, if they do.

My largest concerns run along these lines:
How do I catch a rather large bird with claws and a pointy beak when it tries to escape?
Do I need to clip their wings like we did with our parakeet (which I was rather a weenie about) and how?
How many chickens should we start with initially? For laying? For eating?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2010 3:08 pm

    Damn, that sound’s so easy if you think about it.

  2. January 9, 2010 7:20 pm

    Great idea, thanks for this tip!

  3. dachshundqueen permalink*
    January 9, 2010 7:57 pm

    Til they start wriggling and squawking at me. We’ll see if I have the guts to do it when I go for my volunteer slaughtering session at the farm.

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