*Once again, vegetarians proceed with caution*
Indeed, I have had enough of buying chicken with two many questions attached and am keen to try raising our own meat. It just seems like the natural progression, we have the space, we grow veggies and fruit, so why not meat?
Traditional breeds are what I have been looking into..Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, Sussex and Faverolles that can be kept (real!) free range until around 16-20 weeks and then taken to a localish poultry processing establishment. My plan is to keep a couple of silkies for hatching eggs and raising the chicks. The eggs, I can purchase to start off with already fertilized from a local supplier. I am hoping to try this crazy scheme in the most natural way possible. Perhaps one day we will have a rooster of our own but for now, I would like to try a couple of breeds out first to gain an idea as to what suits us (and our tastes and appetites..and if we can indeed stomach it!).
This is a HUGE leap!
But one I believe I am SO ready for. Hubby is supportive and so are the kids.
First though had to come some appropriate broody housing..
...and a substantial dip into my tip scrounged pile of materials had to take place..(*gulp* it's nearly diminished!)
I built the hutch over a week or so.The lower half was already lurking around, having been used in the past to house some ducks and guinea pigs. I confess to getting very excited with the prospect of an 'upstairs' though. Hinges also managed to tempt me beyond recognition..and a new appreciation for Hubby's cordless drill..
(The shutters close for night time, the lid lifts up and there are hatches and latches aplenty)
After the completion of the broody housing, much to the relief of my chapped and scratched hands, there had to come: Stage Two of The Plan..
The arrival of some Hatchy Mamas:
Two, twelve week old silkies purchased from Little Hen (who also happen to stock the fertilized eggs I am interested in). Apparently they make great mothers..and love to sit.
I'm hoping they will settle in over winter and start showing signs of broodiness in the spring..
'Snowflake' and 'Schwarzy' ('Blacky' in German). These pom-pom divas are purposeful pets, so it's ok to name them!
I'm so excited about this next stage in our lives. It fills me with joy that we are on our way to having another sustainable achievement under our belts.
And in the meantime we can have loads of fun with our new feathered friends. I am looking forward to making them a little tractor to move around the fruit trees in, so they can still indulge in natural chooky behaviour whilst not in the broody cycle.
Do you think I've gone completely and utterly mad?
(Hints, tips and advice from meat growers gratefully appreciated)