Yesterday was Day 49 of our chicken experiment.

11 days earlier, February 11, we slaughtered half of our remaining flock.  At the end of 12 birds, tired and cold, we decided to leave the rest until after Brian’s next 10 days of work, landing us on this past weekend.

Here’s what our birds looked like at 7 weeks:


The second batch of slaughtering went much more smoothly than the first, of course.  We hung them up by their feet and slit their throats.  It’s very quick, and they’re dead before they really even know what’s going on, but it does look like a horror movie for a bit as they bleed out.  I’m not going to post that picture.

We haven’t got a scalder / plucker set-up yet, since we had originally planned on sending these to a professional slaughterhouse.  Frankly we lost too many to really make the trip and the crates worthwhile.  So once they finished bleeding, we skinned them and parted them out into breast meat and legs.

Here they are cooling overnight before going in the freezer:


We got roughly that much again from the first batch.  Now we have a freezer full of chicken meat we raised ourselves!

Having all of this home-raised meat is very satisfying, and I must say, very tasty.  However, I’m not overly happy with how this experiment went.  We messed up very early on by not having them on vitamin supplements from day one, and not monitoring the brooder temperature closely enough, and ended up losing just over 50% of the birds we started with.  Definitely some things I will do differently if (when) we try this again.  Also, now I have to sit down and figure out what the total costs were for that delicious chicken.

Next up, I want to try raising an egg-laying flock of some dual-purpose heritage breed, preferably Orpingtons if we can find them.  I will keep you updated as things progress!