Saturday, January 13, 2007

From egg to freezer in 5 months

The meat chickens were dropped off yesterday, and are no doubt killed by now. We'll pick them up Tuesday or Wednesday from Keizer Meats in Lynden, WA. They do custom and retail processing (which means both killing and butchering; some places only butcher animals you've already killed, like deer). They're on the WA state dept. of agriculture's list of inspected facilities, and the only place in the county doing chickens.

Here are the 16 hens and roosters, wating to go. Keizer said chickens have smothered when dropped off in a closed cardboard box, so we modified them by making a grill on top with fencing. We packed them in snugly so they would stay warm overnight, since they had to wait outside to de-poop before being processed.

I think we gave them a good life for those 5 months...lots of fresh veggies, some free-ranging, a big clean coop. It's much more satisfying to know where our food comes from, and what goes into the growing of it, even if it's more expensive and not so easy.

Our goal for spring/summer is to raise a new batch of chickies and butcher them ourselves. Definitely not on my list of fun things to do, but part of being a responsible, sustainable food-producer...

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