Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's That Time Again

Time to get ready for chickens.

Or, more appropriately, broilers.

What started out as a simple, "Oh let's scale back and just raise 50 birds this year." Turned into, "We're thinking 100-200 chickens and some turkeys!"

Oh good gracious, we're nuts.

But we're doing it! Come to think of it, I'm not sure where this "we" is coming from... Seeing as I'm the one who takes care of the birds, keeps contact with customers (er, patrons), gets the details of butchering figured out, and makes sure that the whole thing doesn't suddenly collapse mid-way through the adventure.

But to keep in the spirit of "we", I shall now claim that I'm referring to "Me, Myself, and I". We make a pretty good trio. ;)

I'm looking forward to getting the little fluff balls, and seeing how many new customers we will get! I always love meeting new people who are of like mind! And as mentioned, yes, we are shooting for 100-200 chickens, and some turkeys. I don't know how many turkeys yet, but so far we have 5 reservations put down. I'll be implementing a lot of Joel Salatin's methods this year, but will also be implementing some of my own...

Buying feed is usually the biggest headache, but I am so grateful that we seem to have settled nicely with a feed mill that's a couple hours south from us. Their prices are a lifesaver, and are allowing us to competitively price our organic chickens at $2.80 per lb. And the feed itself is organic, locally grown, no soy, no corn, and no GMO's. Our birds grew great on this feed last year, so we will use it again this year!

And frankly, I'm excited to try the turkeys out. A lot of folks tell me just how horrible their turkeys were, but then other folks say how they just loved their turkey's sweet temperaments. So I guess we'll find out which side of the fence I'm on. Hehe. I've never raised turkeys before, but have always wanted to, so I made an executive decision that we (see, there's that "we" again) are going to offer Thanksgiving birds this year! I briefly thought about raising a heritage breed, but to be honest, I'm very wary of them. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for conserving rare breeds! But you have to remember that I used to work at a slaughter house, and we had SO many dark feathered, and heritage turkeys come through that I soon disdained the very sight of them. Those birds are so hard to pluck that it's not even funny. I spent hours with a small, metal picker, trying to get every last little black feather off of those birds, and then for all that trouble, the heritage breeds only weighed out to 6-10 lbs. If I have to work that hard, can it please be something like a 40 pounder? Sheesh. So I'm being naughty, and raising the Broad Breasted Whites. Big, white, gorgeously easy to dress, tasty birds. Maybe someday I'll raise some heritage breeds, but not this year... Not this year. 

Is anyone else raising chickens and/or turkeys for meat this year?

Oh, and if you're in our neck of the woods (Willamette Valley, OR) and you're interested in some down-right good food, you can see our Craigslist ad for our chickens and turkeys by clicking HERE.


Anonymous said...

We are raising broilers and I would also like to try turkeys. My question for you is--Where are you getting your feed that allows you to charge what you do?

Goat Song said...

We buy our feed from Union Point Custom Feeds.
They do both organic, and non-organic grains, and will create your own specific feed mix. It's a bit of a drive for us to get to them, and the lady who runs the mill is hard to get in touch with, but the efforts are worth it. :) It's good stuff.

We also buy our chicks from a wholesale hatchery, so we get a really good price on those too. Last year we paid about $0.80 per chick, and this year we're paying about $1.00 per chick. The birds are EXCELLENT though! Oh, and the name of this place is "Oregon Peeps Unlimited" (we're getting our turkey poults from here too). I highly recommend them. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's amazing, Caity! :D Turkeys are fun, just not very intelligent! lol. I've never known them to be mean.

~Krista M. V.

Anonymous said...

we raise turkeys, chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, mini horses and mini donkeys. I realy like raising turkeys and chickens. i'm incubating turkey and duck eggs right now. You wont be sorry about raising the turkeys!

Illinois Lori said...

We bought our organic, pasture-raised Thanksgiving turkey from a farmer about 1.5 hours away (we're in chicago, it takes that long to get to a farm!)...he was trying something new this year, and that was feeding them supplemental fish meal (or some similar name) for protein, since he didn't give them any soy. He said the overwhelming taste of the bird would be like turkey...

He was right, but the overwhelming SMELL of the thing cooking was of fish. Not exactly what I wanted at Thanksgiving! And, the skin of the bird tasted of fish, pretty strongly, and I could never not taste that hint of fish, even though what I mostly tasted was turkey. Everyone noticed something was different (I didn't tell them until after we'd eaten him all up). Upshot is, I won't buy another turkey that's been fed fish meal. Just a heads up for you...


Goat Song said...

I am SO glad that you said that, Lori! I always thought that might happen, but I've never been brave enough to try it out on my own birds (because I was afraid they'd be fishy, and thus a waste). It's good to hear a conformation on that! Yikes... Fishy turkey... Thankfully our chicken feed doesn't have fish meal in it... Oy.