As we try to take more steps in becoming self-sufficient/local-sufficient homesteaders, one of the ideas on our plate for this year is raising chickens to have slaughtered by a local butcher. As much as we would love to raise the chicks all organic there is a huge problem: organic feed is super expensive and would really make it so raising these birds would not be feasible. So, unfortunately, they will be getting a run of the mill grain from our feed supplier that is not certified organic. However, these boys and girls will have much more love, attention, and freedom than any chicken you could buy at the grocer’s. They will have fresh air, room to run, and a place to sleep that isn’t a 1ft x 2ft battery cage with five other roommates.
Given the most recent, and disturbing, news that the FDA is right on the horizon to approving genetically modified salmon, I feel that we’re in an even bigger time crunch than before to set our priorities straight and eat even more local and home grown as possible. The idea of eating an animal that is a new species, created by science, and the repercussions on both human and Gaian health we have no idea about is something out of a nightmare! How anyone could see this as acceptable is beyond the realm of this family’s ability to understand. It looks like, unless we can be promised that our fish is non-genetically altered, we’ll have to either take up fishing or find that local as well. For now, I’ll be picking the brains at the local Hannaford to see as to what the plan is for if and when the GMO salmon hits the market.
In the meanwhile, let’s talk chickens.
Right now we’re trying to figure out what breed we want to order as a dual purpose bird. Our layers are all roughly around two years old. (These girls will live out the rest of their lives as the “old ladies” as we originally got them with the idea of them being pets, not being eaten later….or at least I did. Joe says differently.) So, depending on what it looks like we’ll have for room, we’ll be keeping one or two of the birds that we get specifically for laying. The others will be freezer birds. The only stipulation that Joe has placed on the chickens is that he prefers a pea comb. Well, that doesn’t leave us many options – pretty much just some more Aracunas. However, here are soem of the single-comb varieties that we’re debating on. (All photos from mypetchicken.com.)
Another idea would be to order two of what we want for layers, and the rest (probably six more) as a meat only bird.