Mom and Dad are raising their own meat birds this year, but they needed a little help getting started. This help came from me. I was resigned to not raise chickens this year. We are enjoying rabbit so much, and we have the Muscovy Ducks that are wonderful, so I really was all set. But seeing all those cute baby chicks, I did add in a few extra for myself…Self control where are you? But, like with seeds and seedlings, new baby chicks, ducklings and bunnies, bring such excitement and new hope into the mix, that why should I resist? I shouldn’t.
We are raising Dorking and Chanticleer for meat. They are both good meat birds, with good meat quality. The Dorking is a finer grain, more refined meat, but the Chanticleer is good, and gets about 2-2.5 pounds larger in the same amount of time, so we expect 3.5-4.5 pound Dorkings and 5-6.5 pound Chanticleer. When we say meat birds, we are clearly not talking about “broilers” that are to size in 10 or so weeks. These birds will take 6 months to get to butcher size, but they will be happy, healthy, beautiful birds, that have put on weight naturally and will have the flavor of a full grown bird. They are both heritage breeds, and both are in danger of extinction, especially the Dorking. So by our eating them, their breed will be improved, and our family will be very well fed. What a wonderful relationship that comes with raising a proper animal, in a proper way. I love homesteading!
The chicks are hanging out at my house until they are bigger and can go outside, when they will head next door to my parents house, in their new growing pen. The girls are thrilled to have new little lives to care for.
The girls are actually very helpful with the animals. They helped their dad clean out the duck coops and put down new shavings. They were very proud of the job they did, and were also excited to pet the baby ducklings that were wandering around the newly cleaned coop.