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chickens past their prime :)
April 6, 2011
2:02 pm
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Well, to be honest, it's a far sight better to let a chicken live a happy life and then butcher it for meat than to raise chickens in crowded, tiny cages, pumped full of chemicals, marinating in their own waste for their entire lives and then eat that.  So, I'm OK with butchering farm animals for food, yourself.  I just couldn't do it, personally.  And I'm not sure I could eat anything I raised.  

 

April 6, 2011
3:13 pm
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MaryB
WV
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I agree with you 100%.

April 6, 2011
4:00 pm
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Chickenlady62
Upstate, New York
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The funny thing ( if you want to call it that ) is I have NO problem eating my meat birds.

But I raise them totally different them my “girls” the egg layers . My girls come to me when I whistle ( kinda like a dog) , they follow me around in the yard, they all have names, and they DEFINATELY all have attitudes, errr… personalitiesheart.  The meat birds  do not get named, they are fed, moved around on pasture in their portable pen ,checked on twice a day to make sure they are ok but I do not talk to them or anything remotely “friendly” ( other then care for their needs). Prior to taking  them to a butcher I say a pray of thanks to them for their sacrifice on behalf of our family . Butcher does his thing and  they come back to me processed and in a bag .

They live a good life not crowded or abuse . I have no trouble eating them as they are not raised as pets.hungry

TinaH

TinaH

April 6, 2011
6:40 pm
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MaryB
WV
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I guess that's the trick to not see them as pets, but what will you do with your egg laying ones, when they get to old to lay?

April 7, 2011
8:20 am
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morningstar
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March 13, 2011
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Hee hee my family always says give it a name and it won't get eaten !!

April 7, 2011
8:30 am
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langela
iowa
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My niece took some rabbits they were raising to school for show and tell. When the teacher asked what their names were, her response was, “Dad says we don't name food.”

April 7, 2011
9:52 am
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sparrowgrass
Iron County MO
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When my folks retired to their little farm, they bought 4 heifers and raised their calves for the freezer.  They named them–as I recall, the first one was 'Quarter-pounder'.  I remember 'Whopper' and 'Big Mac', too.

I just haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister.

April 7, 2011
1:56 pm
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Haha!  My best friend named her chickens “Patty” and “Nugget,” even though they are layers and not meat birds.  laugh

April 7, 2011
4:01 pm
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morningstar
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Ha ha talk about laugh.. I have justhad to read the last three posts out to my Hubby as he wondered what I was laughing at. My cats now think I have completly gone mad and are looking at me all wide eyed!!!

April 7, 2011
5:15 pm
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MandyD
Staunton, Virginia
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April 7, 2011
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We butchered a dozen or so chickens that were not laying any longer last fall.  It was our first time doing so and it got easier as we went.  We ended up skinning the chickens as plucking was such an ordeal.  This year we're going to try out the “wiz bang chicken plucker.”

 

So far as the meat is concerned – yes it is incredibly tough and difficult to eat.  However I found that if I put it in the crockpot and let it cook covered with water, poultry seasoning and other spices all day – it is the best chicken you'll ever eat.  Older chicken has much more flavor than broilers.  I use this meat for pot pie, casseroles and especially soup.

April 7, 2011
9:52 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Thanks for your thoughts TinaH. I am currently raising my first clutch of meat birds. I too love my layers (and 2 roos) and am prepared to struggle saying goodbye to the meat biirds. I need to try though, to produce  a better quality meat for my family, Something not mistreated. But I know it will be hard…

  And as a joke, my husband always refers to his 3 favorite layers as Tyson, Holly (farms) and Purdue!

April 13, 2011
12:56 pm
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JerseyMom
New Gretna, NJ
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March 3, 2011
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I have to side with the 'I don't eat my dog either' school of thought.  Don't have so much of an issue with my old girls though because we live right on the hawk migration flight path and on the edge of the woods.  Older, slower birds wind up as hawk food.  I suspect that foxes and coyotes might also be responsible for some of the disappearances although I haven't seen them myself as I have the hawk.  I lost my beloved Emily Rose Duck to an owl but since the chickens don't go out at night as ducks are want to do, that's not an issue 

 

My coop door gets opened first thing in the morning and closed just after dark. I could keep them in all the time but I don't want to.  I'd rather fee the hawks a bit and let the chickens scratch around our two acres.  I am rooster heavy at the moment and might be able to visualize a certain roo in a stock pot because he's mean to his daddy, but otherwise, it's live and let live here at the Jersey Shore  wave 

April 13, 2011
4:27 pm
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MaryB
WV
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Awww  I love your Jersey Shore!   I mean attitude!  lol   hug

April 16, 2011
5:14 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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JerseyShore-Your routine sounds like mine. i only have two roos and predators have been infrequent but we do let them roam most of the day. I enjoy watching them.

    

May 3, 2011
10:06 am
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JerseyMom
New Gretna, NJ
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Last week I lost my favorite roo – the one I mentioned as daddy in an earlier post – to a loose dog (not one of mine). It was so sad and made me reconsider keeping everybody shut up for most of the day, but only briefly.  Despite the occasional loss to a predator, I think the quality of life overall wins out.  I love to watch the flock roaming around and with free range chickens we don't have to tick problem others in our area do.  I would  like to punish the owner of the dog though….I don't let mine run free and neither should they.  Don't really blame the dog – – it was just being a dog.  Mine never touch the chickens but they know better and not all dogs do.

May 3, 2011
11:31 am
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mammaleigh
NW Georgia
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JerseyMom, I can understand and sympathize with you completely! Man, I have thought about nasty things to do to the owners too..but we wont go there and I am not going to do it. But the thoughts just pop up…haha

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first."  ~Mark Twain

May 3, 2011
12:05 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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I too completely free range, you'd have to see the hill I live on to understand why fencing a run would be so difficult!  I love to have a rooster, or roosters around because they are [usually] extra alert and call the alarm when there's danger, but also try to defend their girls.  Of course, that's usually extremely risky for them to do though so they are kind of just decoys.  It's a sad thing for the roo, and I've had some darn nice roos that I've liked a whole lot, but it usually at least gives the girls time to escape.

The times my chickens [including the gallant roosters] were safest was when I had a very protective dog who kept all the neighbor dogs off the property.  We have coyotes in the area too though, and while a LGD (or an Aussie like I had) is good for most predators including any neighborhood dog I ever had to deal with, (one that he sent off with it's tail between it's legs was a pit bull!) I wouldn't ask him or any other to take on a pack of coyotes, so my girls are locked up tight near dusk and the dog is in the house.

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 3, 2011
1:06 pm
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JerseyMom
New Gretna, NJ
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Yep – the hens escaped and “Big Chicken” as he was known… a Dark Brahma and more than knee high….died giving them that chance.  My Lab would have chased that dog off but he was with me, upstairs, and neither of us could get outside fast enough to prevent the tragedy.   There are coyotes in our area as well so once it's dark nobody is outside on their own. 

I've had a variety of roosters over the years – none of them intentionally.  Big Chicken was the 'bonus chick' in the last Murray McMurray order I placed.  Took us months to figure out what he was….as a youngster he looked for all the world like a miniature ostrich!  That batch of chicks was handled quite a bit by my girls and were all very tame.  I've had other roos that you had to keep an ear out for.  When you heard the pitter patter of little chicken feet you'd best turn to defend yourself.  Those were promptly given a new home!  The three remaining are all docile but none like BC who would come stand around with you as if he was part of the conversation, and I guess he was….. I have a picture of him taken by my youngest…he was standing in front of the television in the family room!  When I asked why, Libby said she brought him inside to play “Let's Dance” with her. 

 

May 4, 2011
6:25 am
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Hehe. That warms my heart, JerseyMom.

May 4, 2011
9:08 am
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Bev in CA
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April 20, 2011
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Raising your own meat is for some of us and not for others.  Some of our visiting family members have a hard time with our choice to do so.  We tell them we do it with a reverence, being thankful to provide our own food.  Food we know to be healthy.  A suggestion for older birds is to can them in the Pressure cooker.  It makes for a quick meal on busy days.  The meat is very tender.  I save the backs and freeze.  I later can broth.  JerseyMom brought back memories of our Turkey raising.  I used to chase them with a broom.  They wanted to come on our front deck and make a mess.  One day I let them out for the day and one of them flew up and spurred me in the leg.  Ouch!  My DH felt bad, but laughed so hard, he said they didn't like me using the broom on them.     

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