Sunday, March 18, 2012

Out of the Broiler Pan, Into the Fryer

Many of you might be familiar with how very patient my husband Scott is, and how tolerant he is of my chicken addiction.  I think I pushed him a little far today.

I ran into Tractor Supply meaning to get some dog food and just 5 or 6 broiler chickens (to make sure I know how to kill them, and have enough to give some to Russell--the nice man who's going to show me how to process).  Well, as things often do with me and chickens, it rather spiraled out of control.  I had heard from a friend I made there (and added to the Facebook Kansas Poultry Swap) that they were putting the older broilers (Cornish Rocks) on half price to make room for the newbies.  Perfect, I thought.

Well, I got there today and Margaret wasn't there.  Marilee was there though, and said I'd have to take at least 6.  OK, no problem.  Then she looked thoughtful and said "would you take all 18 for 50 cents each?"

I had to catch my breath too.  What else could I have said but YES!  Heck, they'd already been fed for me for several weeks (saving me on feed) and were originally selling for $1.99 a chick.  So not only do I get a markdown on price and save on feed, but I get older, more hardy chicks.  I was sure Scott would kill me.  I had no idea where I could put them.  Still . . .(I was thinking that it was better to ask forgiveness than permission here!)

Hey, there was an old refrigerator box in the garage.  I have duct tape.  I have an extra brooder lamp.  I found tarps to put over and under the box (since it's supposed to rain for the next few days and they'll have to live in the screen porch), cut down the box, taped the living daylights out of it, smacked on the tarps and a rug over the top to keep the tarps down, and got ready to put the chickies in.

Folks, my little fluffy egg layers will be a week old tomorrow.  They're still tiny little poofballs that weigh almost nothing.  I grabbed one of the broilers out of the transport box and just about bugged my eyes out.  This thing is HUGE!  A handful plus some!  Granted, most of them are between 2 and 3 weeks old, but GEEZ!  I knew they grew quickly but lacking personal experience, I didn't know just HOW quickly.  Chalk it up to a learning experience.  They also seem to have most of the feathers rubbed off their breasts.  I'm pretty sure that isn't normal, but it sure doesn't stop them from eating.  They eat more than my kids, and I'm not joking.  At least I can have them on deep leaf litter. 

Except for eating and drinking, they sure don't move much.  I guess I wouldn't either if I had size GG boobs.  At least for now they're quiet, but I have a pretty good suspicion of who the cockerels will be.  I want to get them processed before they start waking me up like Maki did, since they're under my bedroom window again.

So now I'm up to 33 new chickens, with 8 more on the way in April.  That's not counting my existing 13.  If you ever doubted that I was the Crazy Chicken Lady, please cease and desist your doubting now.  If it'll dry off, I have a cage I can pasture them with.  I simply cannot wait to taste my first home pasture raised chicken.  And heck, with this many, I'll have some for family and friends . . .and time to raise another batch!  Good thing we all like chicken!

So here ya go.  The Flock Currently Known As Dinner.

None of the above chickens will be named, period.  I wouldn't want to limit myself on recipe ideas.
Yes, I am worried about the lack of feathering on the breast.  Still a very docile bird . . .and HUGE.

So there you have it, folks.  These indoor raised, coddled chooks are about to spend their first night in the screen porch, with storms forecasted.  We'll have to see!  Maybe I'll invite everyone over for some fried chicken, baked chicken, boiled chicken, chicken stew, chicken fricasee, chicken parmesan . . .(OK, I know, I sound like Bubba, LOL). I sure hope the weather dries up a little bit (and I can get a decent chicken tractor built) so I can start pasturing them.  Here we gooooooooo!

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