8 Pounds in 8 Weeks: Raising Day Old Chicks for the Dinner Table

meat birds, hens, self sufficiency, livestock
Our latest eBook is all about raising meat birds. If you have been reading this site for awhile, you know that almost every year we raise a few meat birds to put in our freezer.
meat birds, hens, self sufficiency, livestock
Since we try to raise about 85% of our own food here on our property, chickens are a no brainer. We already have hens for eggs; the hens earn their keep by cleaning up our compost and manure piles and eating bugs.
We do love eating chicken and most years, we order in about 25 chicks from an Alberta hatchery. For eight weeks they live here, first in our shop (toasty and warm) and then in their own room at the barn (spacious and clean).
During the day they enjoy sunshine, bugs and lots of fresh air while they are in their fenced outdoor run. Evenings they are locked back into their attached room, safe from predators. Meat birds are easy to raise and provide us with a lot of manure enriched bedding from both their room and the run. We add this to the compost and manure piles and once it has decomposed, it becomes a fantastic fertilizer for our food gardens.
raise meat birds, chicken, dinner table, livestock, farm
Want to learn about raising your own meat? The eBook includes everything from choosing which breed of chicks to order to setting up a homemade brooder to growing them out – everything you need to know is here. They can really grow out to 8 pounds in 8 weeks!

Raising Heritage Chickens in the North

busy henhouse

Here’s something worth considering. If you’re thinking of getting a flock of chickens, consider getting a heritage breed.

Do some research as to your weather conditions, how harsh your winter is and how much natural vegetation you have in season. Then get some heritage breed chickens! They know how to forage and they’re used to being outdoors.

If you live in a northern climate and have room to let your chickens free range (and you should, no matter what size yard you have) then look into Icelandic chickens. They’re great layers, fantastic at finding their own food and are excellent at being broody.

 

laying hens foraging for food

Our chickens are a Red Sex Link….great layers, not so great at being broody. I think its been bred out of them, although we do have one that will make an excellent mother.

 

busy henhouse

She does a great job of keeping our eggs from freezing during winter. Since our layers tend to lay in one box, Beatrice gets in there and keeps all the eggs warm until we go down and collect them.

We have trained these girls to hunt and peck for their food. Not that it does much good in the middle of winter, but we know that as soon as the snow melts, these girls will be paying their own way again.