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

Ever wondered about raising some of your own meat? We find the chickens we raise taste so much better than the watery chicken we have bought at the grocery store. Once we started raising a few birds every year, we got hooked on them. Filling the freezer is pretty easy and it only takes 8 weeks from start to finish. Now, almost every year we raise a few meat birds to enjoy all year around. We keep the largest two and have them at Thanksgiving and Christmas!
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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.
Most years, we order in about 25 chicks from an Alberta hatchery. We buy straight run, which means we order them unsexed. It doesn’t matter to us if they will be roosters on hens. We like  having the choice of smaller and larger birds. 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 are enjoying sunshine, bugs and lots of fresh air while they hang out in their fenced outdoor run. Evenings we lock them 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. Once it  decomposes, it becomes a fantastic fertilizer for our food gardens.
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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! Order your ebook at the link!

Is This How Your Chicken Gets Delivered to Your Plate?

The other day, I posted an article that appeared in the New York Times. It was about the terrible conditions of many commercial chicken factories.

Here are a few pictures I took when we were driving home from Southern California a couple of years ago. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words. Click on the pictures to see close up the conditions of your meat when it is being taken to the kill farm.

We were stopped at one of the rest stops along the I5 highway and the driver of this truck stopped as well. Check out his load.


slaughterin meat birds, chicken transport, grocery store chicken, country living in a cariboo valley


slaughtering meat birds, chicken transport, grocery store chicken, country living in a cariboo valley

Click on the picture to enlarge it and you can see these meat birds don’t look healthy. Think of the stress for the birds when they are taken off to slaughter.


slaughtering meat birds, chicken transport, grocery store chicken, country living in a cariboo valley


Some of them have mangled legs. Compare this picture with the next one.


raising meat birds, grow your own meat, country living in a cariboo valley


When we raise meat birds here in the Valley, they have access to a fenced in yard so they can get outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

When we slaughter a chicken, it is gently picked up and carried to the chopping block. There’s usually some petting going on as we’re holding them. When they die, they have had no pressure or stress beforehand. Think about how much better our chickens must taste, compared to the ones jammed in crates, exposed to the weather for hours and then getting whacked.

It seems cruel to me to transport crates of tightly packed birds off to slaughter. I think chickens deserve more respect than that. Don’t you?

If you are new to raising meat birds, you can read all of our posts about it. We have included the slaughter and processing of meat birds as well.