Tuesday, January 21, 2014

moving on with thoughts of spring chicks...

The snow is falling, 14" is forecasted to fall overnight. 
Now that football is over for me I am left with a little bit of a void.  
If my Pats made it to the Super Bowl there would have been two additional weeks of football fun before the truly cold  hard reality of winter hit.  
The post season is such bliss until it isn't.  
It just wasn't in the cards this year.  
It is time for this New England chick to rally.  It is only January for cripes sake! 
I don't care what the ground hog says, winter is just long here, shadow or no shadow.

However along with the cold it is also catalogue time.  
Seeds, plants, chicks and bees, oh my!
Just what this chick needs to rally a snowy day away.  

We have a few plans this year.  We plan to get some additional egg layers.  
Our girls have hit the two year mark.  Their production just ain't like it used to be.
I had to.....(gulp) wait for it....
I had to buy eggs to make Christmas cookies this year!!!
Now I love my girls, but I thought we had an understanding.

Anywho, time to order some hens and decide on meat birds.
I have decided after last year that I will only order my chicks from McMurray hatchery.  
Last year we ordered our meat birds from Meyers and we lost 5 chicks out of 35 before 2 weeks.  
Some losses are to be expected but that was just too many.  
I have to honest, comparing past years, I just think the McMurray has better stock, gene pool I guess.  
I really know nothing about gene pools and stock.  All I know is my observations and that is what I believe.  I will also only go with Cornish Roasters.  The X Rocks are big, but I think the Cornish seem healthier and taste delish!
Though we only have the meat birds for 6 weeks from chick to butcher, it is a commitment.  
They eat, they poop, they drink ALL DAY!
That means lots of clean water, lots of food and lots of fresh shavings. 

They come home from the post office...

Oh they are so cute...

They then transition from "so cute" to sitting by the water or food all day.  Some of the bigger ones will try to position themselves between the water and the food for the least amount of movement to fill their faces.

The fateful day arrives.  I thank each of them before they get crated up, that is my job.  Calm is the mantra, we don't want any chickens stressed on the way to the butcher.

My Dad's dump truck is the best for this job.  Easy to load, easy to clean out.

We purchased the two large white crates at a ridiculous amount of money(I think $60 plus shipping per crate) My husband made the wooden one and then we improvise with the milk crates.  The white ones are the best because of the height.  They just plop down and don't try to walk around.

We wire tie cardboard on the tops of the milk crates.  We use the milk crates for the bigger meaner birds that might be aggressive or for smaller ones that might need a little protection on the ride.

It is a 25 minute ride there, which my husband does.  I stay back and clean the coop.  After about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours they come home ready to be weighed, ziploced and frozen.  
We do rinse them when they get home before we bag them.

Being prepared is the key.  We have everything ready the night before so things go smoothly the morning of. Since it is summer we are also sure to have lots of ice for the ride home.

It is a lot of work but I think worth it. 
Time to get ordering, that 5:45am call will come from the post office before we know it. 

1 comment:

Bee Lady said...

I applaud you for all of the work you do to raise your own food. We get our beef and eggs from our neighbor. And I do try to put up food whenever I can. I know people don't like it when we "kill" animals, yet those same people eat meat in the grocery stores...if only they knew. You would probably enjoy a couple of books I've read. One is "Harvest for Hope" by Jane GOodall and the other is "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver.
Think our bees have lived through this winter? I have my doubts.

Cindy Bee