Tag Archives: broiler chickens

The Life of a Broiler-The Last Week

We processed our last batch of chickens this past weekend.  Our broilers were exactly eight weeks and four days old on processing day.  We started early; around 5:00am we filled the scalder with water and got it going so that the water would be hot enough by 7:00am.  While the water was heating we had breakfast, drank coffee, set up the rest of the equipment and greeted friends as they arrived to lend us some much appreciated helping hands.

As soon as it was day light, the boys started filling crates with chickens and we were ready to begin.

Here is a picture of my husband holding one of the birds before it went into a kill cone.

Broiler chicken getting ready to go into the kill cone.

Broiler chicken getting ready to go into the kill cone.

All of our equipment is from The Featherman company.  I will show you our set-up.

I have left out the pictures of the actual processing, but I do feel that is important for everyone to know where their food comes from.

First, the chickens go head first into the kill cones.

IMG_0998

 

Next, the chickens go into the scalder.

IMG_0996

 

The chickens are then placed in the plucker.  I tell everyone that wants to raise and process their own chickens that if there is one piece of equipment that you must have; this is it!  This machine will have the feathers off of four chickens within thirty seconds.

IMG_0995

 

When they come out of the plucker they go onto the evisceration table.

IMG_0994

 

Once the chickens are eviscerated they go into tubs that hold what we call “pink water” (this is their first soak in water) and then they go into our large chill tank and stay there until we pack them with ice in coolers to “rest” before packaging.

IMG_0990

 

On this day we processed 151 chickens and 10 turkeys.  We started at 7:00am and finished at 1:00pm.  We had wonderful friends that came out to help us.

If you have any questions about the processing, please ask.  And if you are interested in raising and processing your own chickens be sure and visit the Featherman Company’s website.  It is a small business right here in the USA!

Leave a comment

Filed under Farming

Life of a Broiler-Week 7

The broilers have reached seven weeks of age.  Technically, they are 7 1/2 weeks old if you are going by the day that I am writing this post.  We have been so busy around here this week that I couldn’t get the post written earlier.

Next Saturday we will be processing the chickens and our pasture-raised turkeys.  I have a post coming up next week about our turkeys.

Here is a picture of the chickens.

Seven week-old Cornish Cross Broiler chicken

 

As usual, we move them every morning to fresh pasture.  Now that we are in the last week before processing (butchering)  we will move them twice a day.  Their feed consumption goes up and what goes in must come out.  We never want our chickens spending lengthy amounts of time in their waste and we want to make sure they have ample amount of grazing time.  I love to watch them scratch around in the ground and eat bugs.  Chickens were never designed to be confined indoors.

Here they are around the waterer.

IMG_0968

 

It is a lot of work to raise happy, healthy, vaccine and antibiotic free chickens but so worth it.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Farming

Life of a Broiler-Week5

The broilers are now five weeks old.

Five week-old Cornish Cross broiler chicken.

 

This chicken decided to get up on one of the beams of the coop and hitch a ride while we moved the coop.

Moving our coops is easy with the dolly.  We place the dolly on one end, lift up and slide it under the pen.

IMG_0904

 

We then go to the opposite side of the pen and pull.

Handles are on the front and back of the pens for easy moving.

Handles are on the front and back of the pens for easy moving.

 

We currently have 150 chickens on pasture.  We have these chickens divided among three pens to allow for ample amount of feeder and grazing space.

IMG_0906

We have a Bell waterer on two pens and a homemade bucket waterer in one pen.  Both work well.  The pens are moving towards the woods.  If you look close, you can see that I was standing where the pens had been a few days before.  Our chickens are on green grass, out in the sunshine and fresh air and fertilizing our pastures all at once.  It is a lot of work to move pens every morning but so worth it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Farming

Life of a Broiler-Week 4

The chickens are growing.  Here is what they look like this week.

Four-week old broiler chick.

Four-week old broiler chick.

They love being moved to fresh grass each day.

This is a picture of them inside the pen.

IMG_0857

The fresh grass, sunshine and fresh air keeps our chickens happy and healthy.

Sorry for the short post, but we have been extremely busy around the farm.  I will be sharing some of our projects.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Leave a comment

Filed under Farming

Broilers in the Brooder

For the past week we have been caring for 100 Cornish Cross broiler chicks.  They will be in the brooder for a couple more weeks and then moved to pasture.  It is amazing how fast they grow compared to laying hens.  Once the broilers are moved to pasture they will be moved to fresh grass everyday.  These chickens will be able to be outside doing what chickens like to do while getting fresh air and sunshine; not cramped in a dark, dirty CAFO.  I think it’s crazy that for a chicken to be labeled free range by the USDA, there only needs to be a door for the chickens to have access to the outside.  For the most part, the chickens never even go outside!  This is the crazy!  Even though broiler chickens are not meant to live a long life they should still be raised in a way that lets them express their “chickeness”.  Chickens were created to eat grass, bugs, and worms.  While we do supplement our pastured broilers with feed enriched with good stuff like kelp and probiotics (we do not give our chickens routine antibiotics or vaccinations) they will get a lot of their nutritional requirements from pasture that has not been treated with chemical fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized