Tag Archives: pasture-raised poultry

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.

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Next, the chickens go into the scalder.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Life of a Broiler – Week 3

I am technically three days late on this post, so please forgive me.  We have been very busy.  We started back to school this week, built a new turkey roost ( I will have a post about this soon) and began work on a coop for our new batch of laying hens.  Busy, busy, busy!  But we are happy, happy, happy.  Don’t you just love Si?

Anyway…back to my post.

Here is what one of our broiler chicks looks like now.

Three week old Cornish Cross chick.

Three week old Cornish Cross chick.

They are starting to get more feathers and less fuzz.

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In case you have forgotten what they looked like three weeks ago…

Day old Cornish Cross chick.

Day old Cornish Cross chick.

They are growing like weeds and eating like little pigs.

They have been weaned off of the heat lamps and are out on pasture.  We move the pens every morning to give the chicks access to fresh grass.  We did have to put three of the smallest chicks back into the brooder so that they would not be trampled to death.  When you raise chickens, a brooder makes a great hospital.

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We let these little guys out when we are outside so that we can keep an eye on them.  Once they get a little bigger we will integrate them back into the flock.

Here are the others enjoying the grass.

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I love seeing and hearing happy little chicks.

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Life of a Broiler-Week 2

Our chicks are continuing to eat and grow.  They have reached the age of two- weeks old and we haven’t had any losses.  I am surprised but pleased.

Two-week old cornish cross broiler chick.

 

We moved one of our moveable pens that we raise our pastured broilers in by the brooder.  Since the weather is nice, and the chicks don’t need to be kept at ninety-five degrees anymore, we started moving them into the pen during the day.  We place the pen in an area where the chicks can get grit, grass and sunshine.  This also gets them acquainted with the bell waterers so they will know where to get water when they are moved onto pasture.

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The chicks have already eaten 100 lb. of feed.  Next week they should be out on pasture enjoying the grass and bugs.

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