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From Egg to Egg

kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
This thread's purpose is to document the process of raising meat chickens. I will cook many of them on my big green egg. 

Our family desires a farm to table experience and hopefully in a few years we will be well on our way to preparing entire meals that consist mostly of meat and produce we raise.  Currently we are looking to sign some of the kids up for 4H.

The last two years we spent living away from our hobby farm while the house was remodeled.  The house was built in 1900.  I will have a separate thread on that when the builder ties up the lose ends. 

Now we are back living in our dream home, but mostly out of money, as we went waaaaaay over budget. :smile The funds to improve the 7 acres are low and there is a ton of work to do. By necessity I have adopted a "use what I have" mentality for now as building new barns, professional landscaping,  erecting permanent fences, etc is out of reach.  

The house has no garage per se, but there is a 40x50 barn that has garage space for 4 vehicles,  some animals, a work shop, fishing boat, and kids toys.  There is a huge semi finished storage area maybe 25 x 35 upstairs in the barn.  The barn is hideous looking. It used to be two garages.  One was partially removed by previous owner and this hip roof barn was morphed over it.  Siding on the barn is some wood,some cinder block, some silo block,  two types of vinyl, and steel.  Some of the barn roof is steel and some is asphalt shingles .  It is not a desirable looking structure but the space is awesome and usable.  In addition to that barn, there is another barn the previous owner built for horses.  This thing is also ugly but usable.  It is taller than it is wide. This is where my chickens and turkeys are.  I haven't figured out where to set up the meat birds, but I have time. At first, they will be tiny and in a couple boxes or tubs. 

On to the meat birds.

I selected the Cornish Rock breed to start out with for several reasons. 

1. They are only an 8 week commitment.
2. At this time I don't want to deal with them thru the winter. 
3. Feed costs will be lower due to their short life. 
4. This is the breed sold at stores. I want to see if I taste a difference in mine vs store birds. 

We like to know where our food comes from.  We are organic, non GMO, minimaly processed food whenever possible type people. 

I have 6 kids that range from 4-12. Our grocery bill is Yuge with this type of mentality. 

Two days ago I placed my order with Townline poultry. They are a local hatchery with 40,000 breeding chickens.  They have been in business over 100 years supplying day old chicks to hobby farmers all over the USA. They ship via US Mail.   I can't go pick up the chicks as customers are not allowed on site due to the risk to their flock. They are likely who we ordered from when I raised meat chickens as a kid with my grandfather. 

I should receive a call to pick them up from my post office Tuesday or Wednesday. 

The Cornish Rock breed will grow to 6lbs on average in the 8 weeks.  100 chicks shipped to my zone is $179. I have an organic non GMO feed supplier that will be delivering my order of starter feed before I get the chicks. 

Tonight I just finished enclosing my turkey pasture.  The meat birds may be put in the turkey pen after 4 weeks because they will be on the same feed at that point.  The turkey pasture is about 50 x 50. I have 7 turkeys that will be ready for Thanksgiving. Tomorrow if I have time, I will cut the opening in the barn so they can actually get out in their new outdoor space. 

If I could just keep the hawks at bay, I would be all set. 

I will update this thread as things progress.  

Thanks for the idea of documenting this @Sea2Ski
More to come.  . . 



LBGE - 36Blackstone
Grand Rapids MI
«13

Comments

  • shtgunal3shtgunal3 Posts: 4,005
    Awesome endeavor bro. Have fun with it. I look forward to following along through your posts.

    ___________________________________

     

     LBGE,SBGE, and a Mini makes three......Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • Sea2SkiSea2Ski Posts: 2,652
    This is going to be great to watch. Wish I was nearby to assist, as I happily would. 
    --------------------------------------------------
    Burning lump in Downingtown, PA or diesel in Cape May, NJ.
    ....just look for the smoke!
    Large and MiniMax
    --------------------------------------------------
  • JNDATHPJNDATHP Posts: 258
    Interested in this thread...
    Michael
    Large BGE
    Reno, NV
  • jeffwitjeffwit Posts: 1,141
    Good on ya, @kl8ton. I bought a hobby farm about a year ago and also went over budget on the home refurbishment. You're ahead of me, because I don't have any existing barns. I'll be watching this with interest. 
    Jefferson, GA
    XL BGE, MM, Things to flip meat over and stuff
    Wife, 3 kids, 4 dogs, five cats. One overworked vacuum cleaner.
  • TeefusTeefus Posts: 604
    edited September 2017
    Keep at it. My folks did this when I was a kid. Nearly everything we ate excepting for spices was raised or grown on the premises. The exception was butter that we got from a neighbor. It was a great experience for us kids.

    We would get Vantress Meat Hybrid chicks for eating, and Leghorn hens for the eggs. We threw in some Cornish Rock and Rhode Island Reds later to mix things up.
    Michiana, South of the border.
  • ColtsFanColtsFan Posts: 1,789
    So awesome!

    Staying tuned 
    Two large BGE, KJ Jr, 36" Blackstone, FlameBoss 300
    Follow me on Instagram @ hoosier_egger
    Bloomington, IN - Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!
  • HotchHotch Posts: 3,326
    edited September 2017
    I used netting to cover the open space outside our coop.
    It kept most things out. And most things in.
    The dogs were a bit more difficult.
    The trials of raising ducks and chickens in the city!
    Large BGE, MiniMAX BGE, 2 Mini BGE's, R&V Fryer, 36" Blackstone Griddle, Camp Chef Dual Burner 40K BTU Stove
    BGE Chiminea
    Prosper, TX
  • CanDidCanDid Posts: 106
    Looking forward to updates!  :chicken:
    BGE XL
    NWArkansas
  • EoinEoin Posts: 1,526
    We also did this when we were teenagers, my parents moved to the sticks and got 7 acres of good pasture and plenty of outbuildings.

    7 acres is a good size spread. We used to have chickens for eggs, 2 cows and a dozen sheep. Sheep are a great animal to raise on a smallholding, as long as the ground isn't wet. 

    Hard work but much satisfaction awaits. 
  • shtgunal3shtgunal3 Posts: 4,005
    Our neighbors growing up had (and still do) four 400'-500' commercial chicken houses. Commercial chicken farms are abundant in our county. Anyway when I was a kid, when the "chicken catchers" would come and get all of the neighbors chickens there would always be several that were left behind. My dad and I would go get the ones left behind and butcher them and put in the freezer. We always had fresh chicken growing up.

    ___________________________________

     

     LBGE,SBGE, and a Mini makes three......Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • Love this. Thanks for sharing with us. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • How far from GR are you now that are back at the house? I'll be in next Tuesday-Friday around noon. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    @The Cen-Tex Smoker

    I am on the NW side. 10 minutes from downtown.  Let me know if you have time for a beer. 
    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • Get some pics up when you get done. 

    My granddad dad and I did Cornish Rocks when he got older and didn't want to fool with them through the winter. It was a solid decision. 

    "Brought to you by bourbon, bacon, and a series of questionable life decisions."

    South of Nashville, TN

  • My choice was sex links because they were easy to sex. Pullets we kept for eggs and breeding while cocks were cooked. My various varieties were always able to fly over the six foot chicken wire so a top was required. I built a hen house at one end of an enclosed areas with a wire down the middle. After harvesting one side the chickens were moved to it and the other one had no weeds and was fertilized. Mine overwintered with a hen house and outside pen. Hauling water after dark in sub-freezing weather was never fun.
    The Cornish/White Rock cross is the best feed conversion I'm told.
    Try some fresh eggs while you're at it. Yokes actually stand up. Don't wash them as it removes the protective coating from the hen.
    Store bought tomatoes are tasteless with very few exceptions. (Granger County at Ingles being better than any other) None can come close to the taste of real home grown.
    My brother backed his son in a non GMO organic farm and I got to visit. He uses a funnel shaped thing to hold the chicken head down for butchering. It's a lot cleaner than having one run off and spew blood all over the butcher.
    Hogs are another good home farm meat source. They are a little harder to butcher. Have you considered rabbits?
    Great food is on the way.

    Bob
    Cooking on the coast
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    @BikerBob

    When I was a kid, my grandpa made a couple funnels for that very purpose.

    I remember not caring too much for rabbit meat,  and I don't think the kids would go for that.  I would have pets on my hands. 

    We pan on adding a goat or two,  a pig or two or three,  cows,  and ducks. We will see how it goes. 


    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • kl8ton said:
    @BikerBob

    When I was a kid, my grandpa made a couple funnels for that very purpose.

    I remember not caring too much for rabbit meat,  and I don't think the kids would go for that.  I would have pets on my hands. 

    We pan on adding a goat or two,  a pig or two or three,  cows,  and ducks. We will see how it goes. 


    Ha!  My dad raised rabbits when I was very young. I named them all.  I refused to eat Fluffy VII. Somehow it was easier with Cocoa the cow.  
    Jason NW GA- home of carpet and Mexican restaurants
    LBGE, MM, BS (Blackstone and the other kind)
    One sorry Labrador

    My chili did not suck. 
  • kl8ton said:
    @The Cen-Tex Smoker

    I am on the NW side. 10 minutes from downtown.  Let me know if you have time for a beer. 
    Ok- how about Tuesday night? I'll PM you 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • While I was in college my folks moved out of town onto 5 acres of pastureland. They built the house and garden on the front 2 acres and tried raising several things on the back 3 acres. First it was cattle and they died, then sheep and they died but slower, then ducks for the small pond and they would lay their beds in fire ant beds with predictable result. The only successful animal on that cursed land was free ranged turkeys. We would trim the feathers on one wing so if they tried to fly over the fence they would cork screw into the ground. They were quite tasty. So were they sheep but they were a lot more work with too many casualties, some disease in the soil.
  • KayakKayak Posts: 158

    "We like to know where our food comes from.  We are organic, non GMO, minimaly processed food whenever possible type people."


    Can someone explain to me the benefit of Organics? Or non-GMO? It seems like a way to just charge more for the same thing.??

    Bob

    New Cumberland, PA
    XL with the usual accessories

  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296

    This is from the non GMO project website.  


    GMO Facts

    What is a GMO?
    Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

    Most GMOs have been engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. However, new technologies are now being used to artificially develop other traits in plants, such as a resistance to browning in apples, and to create new organisms using synthetic biology. Despite biotech industry promises, there is no evidence that any of the GMOs currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

    Visit the What is GMO page for more information and a list of high-risk crops.

    Are GMOs safe?
    A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage, and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. More than 60 countries around the world – including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union – require GMOs to be labeled. Globally, there are also 300 regions with outright bans on growing GMOs.

    In the absence of credible independent long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown. Increasingly, citizens are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

    Are GMOs labelled?
    Sixty-four countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labeled. 1 While a 2015 ABC News survey found that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labelled, GMOs are not required to be labelled in the U.S. and Canada. 2 In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

    Which foods might contain GMOs?
    Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 3

    To see a list of high-risk crops, visit the What is GMO page.

    Animal products: The Non-GMO Project also considers livestock, apiculture, and aquaculture products at high risk because genetically engineered ingredients are common in animal feed. This impacts animal products such as: eggs, milk, meat, honey, and seafood.

    Processed inputs, including those from synthetic biology: GMOs also sneak into food in the form of processed crop derivatives and inputs derived from other forms of genetic engineering, such as synthetic biology. Some examples include: hydrolyzed vegetable protein corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein, flavorings, vitamins  yeast products, microbes & enzymes, flavors, oils & fats, proteins, and sweeteners.

    How do GMOs affect farmers?

    Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents to control the use and distribution of their genetically engineered seeds. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields have been contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of the drift of pollen from neighboring fields.4

    Genetically modified crops therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown.

    What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?
    More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.5 As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteenfold since GMOs were first introduced.6 In March 2015, the World Health Organization determined that the herbicide glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup®) is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

    Genetically modified crops also are responsible for the emergence of “superweeds” and “superbugs,” which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons such as 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange).7,8

    Most GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture and are developed and sold by the world’s largest chemical companies. The longterm impacts of these GMOs are unknown. Once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

    1. “Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | International Labeling Laws.” Center for Food Safety. N.p., n.d. Web.
    2. Langer, Gary. “Poll: Skepticism of Genetically Modified Foods.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 June 2015. Web.
    3. Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, and Seth James Wechsler. “USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption.” USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 09 July 2015. Web.
    4. Leader, Jessica. “Monsanto Wins Lawsuit Filed By U.S. Organic Farmers Worried About Seed Contamination.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 June 2013. Web.
    5. Duke, S.O., & Powles, S.B. (2009). “Glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds: Now and in the future.” AgBioForum, 12(3&4), 346-357. 
    6. Kustin, Mary Ellen. “Glyphosate Is Spreading Like a Cancer Across the U.S.” EWG. Environmental Working Group, 07 Apr. 2015. Web.
    7. Mortensen DA, Egan JF, Maxwell BD, Ryan MR, Smith RG. “Navigating a critical juncture for sustainable weed management.” BioScience. 2012;62(1):75-84.
    8. “Newsroom.” Agent Orange: Background on Monsanto’s Involvement. N.p., n.d. Web.
    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • EoinEoin Posts: 1,526
    kl8ton said:
    @BikerBob

    When I was a kid, my grandpa made a couple funnels for that very purpose.

    I remember not caring too much for rabbit meat,  and I don't think the kids would go for that.  I would have pets on my hands. 

    We pan on adding a goat or two,  a pig or two or three,  cows,  and ducks. We will see how it goes. 


    Goat meat is good eating, makes great curry.  The problem is that they are nice animals, hard to do the deed when the time comes.
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    @ kayak 

    If I feed my chickens non-GMO food and let them outside to see the sun, eat bugs, scratch the ground, and eat grass, I will be able to get $3.50 per pound.  If I don’t feed them non-GMO food and keep them in a confined space with the birds standing wing to wing all day, I won’t even break even when it comes time to sell.  Customers can buy that type of bird already rotisserie cooked at Costco for 3.99 per bird.     I am not sure it is like this everywhere, but in West Michigan there is a huge push for this type of stuff and yes, people pay a premium for it.  I like working outside and “working the land” so to speak, so this is a good fit for my family.  We want to teach the kids how you can grow food and how to responsibly take care of the land.  The fact that a company can patent a seed and sue a customer’s neighbor because some of their crop cross pollinated and there are traces of the patented genetics present is ludicrous.  Everything is about money.  Everyone wants the same thing:  Less weeds, more yield, crops to be unaffected by drought, and less susceptible to disease.  GMO camp goes about that with science and corporations race to find the be all end all seed that is the best at everything.  The corporations also see that consumers don’t like the science and scary stories about GMO so they invest in producing non-GMO products because there is a huge market there. 

     

    I just want healthy food grown with no anti-biotics, chemicals, etc.

     

    Whether we go organic or not, anything that we grow or produce on our little hobby farm will taste better that what you and buy in the store.


    Our family is not hard and fast on the organic/non-GMO route.  We just try to not eat a lot of processed foods and when selecting something in the store, will look for the organic version if available.  We had doritos with our bratwurst yesterday.  There is no organic doritos and I am positive the pork in the brats came from a commercial farming operation in which the pigs are on anti-biotics and fed GMO grain and chicken anuses.

    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    Eoin said:
    kl8ton said:
    @BikerBob

    When I was a kid, my grandpa made a couple funnels for that very purpose.

    I remember not caring too much for rabbit meat,  and I don't think the kids would go for that.  I would have pets on my hands. 

    We pan on adding a goat or two,  a pig or two or three,  cows,  and ducks. We will see how it goes. 


    Goat meat is good eating, makes great curry.  The problem is that they are nice animals, hard to do the deed when the time comes.
    Well the kids like goat milk a lot.  My oldest really misses it.  We had a goat share for him as he had a problem with dairy when he was younger.  So we plan on getting goats for the milk. I can't even get my wife to eat lamb. . . goat meat is out of the question.  It is illegal here to buy raw goats milk.  The farms have set up shares where you "buy" the goat and they keep it for you.  You then pay for them to care for your goat to the tune of $6.00 per gallon.


    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • TeefusTeefus Posts: 604
    kl8ton said:
    Eoin said:
    kl8ton said:
    @BikerBob

    When I was a kid, my grandpa made a couple funnels for that very purpose.

    I remember not caring too much for rabbit meat,  and I don't think the kids would go for that.  I would have pets on my hands. 

    We pan on adding a goat or two,  a pig or two or three,  cows,  and ducks. We will see how it goes. 


    Goat meat is good eating, makes great curry.  The problem is that they are nice animals, hard to do the deed when the time comes.
    Well the kids like goat milk a lot.  My oldest really misses it.  We had a goat share for him as he had a problem with dairy when he was younger.  So we plan on getting goats for the milk. I can't even get my wife to eat lamb. . . goat meat is out of the question.  It is illegal here to buy raw goats milk.  The farms have set up shares where you "buy" the goat and they keep it for you.  You then pay for them to care for your goat to the tune of $6.00 per gallon.


    I grew up drinking Nubian Goat milk. Great stuff, and very healthy. 
    Michiana, South of the border.
  • KayakKayak Posts: 158
    @Kl8ton,
    That was a lot of stuff you posted! I wonder whether you believe all of it or not?
    Big Ag and Big Org are both out to get your money, but the organic fellows seem to market with fear to help sell their products. Fear of 'chemicals', fear of 'gene manipulation', fear of big corporations that they pretend not to be. Teach your kids to take care of the land, but don't tell them there aren't any chemicals in their veggies or chickens; there are. And a good chunk of the genes in them and us are the exact same genes that are in frogs.

    Bob

    New Cumberland, PA
    XL with the usual accessories

  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296


    Took delivery of 12 bags of chicken feed today.  This will hopefully get the meat birds to the 4 week mark.  
    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    I received shipping confirmation on the chicks today.  I suspect a call from the post office tomorrow! 
    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 10,038
    Lookin forward to the pictures. A great project and know you will enjoy all that it brings you.
    Columbia, South Carolina with a Medium, MiniMax & a 17" Blackstone

    Talk-in' 'bout, hey now! Hey now! I-ko, I-ko, un-day
    Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né, jock-a-mo fee na-né

  • Sea2SkiSea2Ski Posts: 2,652
    Let's see the peeps! 

    --------------------------------------------------
    Burning lump in Downingtown, PA or diesel in Cape May, NJ.
    ....just look for the smoke!
    Large and MiniMax
    --------------------------------------------------
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