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.