Why do we need another chicken blog or forum?

Many chicken forums are moderated to sell commercial feed, chemicals and ideology.
I prefer to find my own balance between nature, welfare and cost in raising happy chickens.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Layer cockerels for the table?

Finding a high number of cockerels in a cheap chick purchase isn't necessarily a disappointment. What layer cockerels have going for them more than anything else, I feel, is an ability to forage. What meat they do end up having is usually of terrific quality because they've had ample exercise.

So at the moment I've got 20 layer chicks in a tractor, and it appears I have mostly males (probably 17 out of 20, if not all). While I was expecting a poor ratio as these were kindergarten-hatched, I wasn't quite expecting that many. But it's not a problem when I know from experience even the boys can be useful as long as they're not compared to genuine meat birds.

So they'll be pastured from now on (they're 3 weeks old and have their own little mobile 'igloo' for use in the tractor) and will be processed at around 15 weeks or when they begin to crow or fight too much. Fighting of course makes for stressed meat. I won't expect a great quantity of meat, but I'd expect them to have great flavour.

Meanwhile I'll go out now and take some photos.

Here they are, a little camera shy!

The blue object to the right is a tarp-wrapped 'igloo' made of bent mesh (to form a C section). The picture is looking at it from the side. To keep the sides from splaying I've c-clipped an elevated floor out of the same stuff (Bunning compost panel mesh). This also keeps the chicks off the ground at night, so even if water seeps down through the tractor (which is on a slope), the chicks can stay dry while they sleep. On top of the mesh floor is a piece of foam matting of the type campers and yoga trainers use. The ceiling under the tarp is also made out of this type of foam matting, so it's quite insulated; and there's a rear wall under the tarp.

The chicks had been cold brooder trained a week or two after I got them, so by the time they went out into the tractor they knew where to go when chilly.


Mrs. Reverend Doctor said...

I would think they would make great fried chicken or something slow cooked in a sauce, 17/20 is odd ratio. Have eyou ever raised Bantams? I was offered some free and they do lay (3 eggs a week)my 5 year old is getting a little scred of picking up our RIR and B;ack Stars because they are so big.

Erica Bandanna said...

Bantams can be lovely as pets.