Sunday, June 22, 2008

Order Your Chickens

This is a fitting first post to the Oregon Natural Foods blog. We have spent the majority of the spring getting our Urban Homestead up and running. We butchered one set of chickens already (4 Cornish Cross and 4 Light Brahma). That went well, and we have a nice personal stash of chickens in the freezer. We also have 4 ducks in the freezer that I raised by hand with that batch of chickens.

Currently in the meat pen, there are 8 New Hampshire chickens that is another project. I wanted to make sure that we had raised enough chicken for the family with a little leftover to sell or to pass on as a gift. Those chickens are scheduled to be butchered August 1.

I was planning to be done with that, but an idea came to my head. I want to do an experiment that would involve raising chickens on a no corn, no soy diet. Most chickens raised these days (including the two batches I mentioned above) have been raised on soy. Chickens need at least 20% protein to thrive, and a natural source for them to get it is soy. My goal is to find no corn and no soy feed that I can feed them that will keep them above the 20% protein mark and get them big and fat enough to put on a table.

I know that it is possible because before there was commercial chicken feed, families raised chickens in the backyard with nothing more than table scraps. I believe that it can be done, and it can be done well.

So, at this time, I am taking reservations for my next batch of chickens that will be no corn, no soy fed chickens. I will be taking a $15 per chicken deposit from anyone wanting a chicken. This is a project that takes a lot of thought and a lot of work, so I want to make sure that the chickens are reserved ahead of time. The price for the chickens is $5 per pound.

Another catch to this is that the chickens will not be the standard Cornish Cross breed of chickens. I personally believe that Cornish Cross have been overly bred to such a degree that their purpose is to sit around and eat and be fat. The Cornish Cross that I butchered made me crazy because they seemed to be nothing but mindless meat drones that had no personality and that were freaks of nature in their regard to eat and be fat and serve no other purpose (not even an aesthetic purpose). I have chosen for the health of the chicken species in general to go another route. I am going to order a dual purpose breed of chickens that I can use to butcher so that I do not have to worry about supporting the Cornish Cross freak breed.

The spots are filling up fast, so get your orders in soon.

1 comment:

kenny said...

hey there, good to see others looking to avoid the corn/soy cartel. thought i would pass on some thoughts as i am working to the same extent. as you may know you need 3 general "things" in your chicken feed 1 energy/calories 2 protein 3 vitamins/minerals. the normal corn is for the energy/calories and for this i substitute with mostly milo and a mix of other grains like millet, oats and barley. the normal source for the protien is the soy. soy is by far the highest source of plant protien at something like 45% i susbstitute fishmeal and clover to try and bring the protien up. the normal vitamins and minerals in commercial chicken feed is generally highly processed or even synthetic sources. i run my chicken on pasture and the grass forbes and bugs give them a healthy shot of vitamins and minerals. a few other things, i soak all my grains before feeding this make them more digestible and the nutrients much more assimilateable i even try to sprout much of the grains. i feed whole grains or grind/crack them my self no more than a week in advance this maintains the nutrient content, soaking the grain in whey would work and increase the protien as well, i just need more whey. there is also the notion that chickens dont actually need as much protien if they could better assimilate the protein they had available the thought is that modern ag practices produce grain and feed that is lacking in minerals and there are companies that make natural mineral suplements that are suposed to help in this matter. mineral supplement can range from just a little sea salt with all the trace minerals thru kelp or fish meal on up to prepared mixes like Fertrell's nutri-balancer probiotics are benificial too, i just feed some home made yogurt but there are comercial sources also. the bigges problem i face here in CO is finding these things somewhat localy. i found fish meal but it had some nasty preservitives in it but i am working with a local coop to see if they can order in some of the better brands of the fish and kelp meal and the nuti-balancer. i am trying to get several like minded folks to go together to make a large enough order that the coop will feel it will be worth there while feel free to email me with questions or suggestions as i am
still looking for the answer myself
thank you
kenny
www.heritageranchcolorado.com
2 tank minimum at gmail dot com
i did the email funky so the spam botts cant read it put it all together and spell out the 2 and change the at to @ and so on. hope to here from you and your success with the chickens