Monday, July 30, 2012

First Butcher Day

Our first broiler butcher was a success! The heavens opened on us Friday night, so we were not able to set up until Saturday morning. We killed our first chicken about 10:15 and were finishing our 15th and last about 12:30. Of course, it took additional time to get all the birds bagged and weighed and clean up the giblets, but all in all, I think it was great timing for our first attempt.
We are butchering again on August 11 and this time will have 50 birds to do. I am actively working to get them all sold. Reserve yours today!
Here are pictures. Some people may find them graphic.

Here is Jeff loading a chicken into the killing cone. These restrain the birds so they can't flap around and hold them upside down so the blood can drain out. Then the birds were scalded to loosen feathers and put 2 at a time into the plucker. What an amazing machine this thing is! Press the on button, spray in some water and in 10 seconds, you get a plucked bird!

Occasionally, there would be a feather or two left. Those were pulled out and it was off to the eviscerating table.

It's not so bad, we actually have smiles on our faces! The birds hadn't had any food for the last 15 hours or so of their lives so there was no poo to deal with. Unlike mechanical evisceration, we did not cut into a single intestine. All the offal was dumped intact into the waste bin at our feet. Giblets, necks and feet went into the red cooler.

Then it was off to the icy cold chill tank. When all the chickens were done, we drained and bagged them in shrink bags

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oregon Man Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail -- for Collecting Rainwater on His Property

This article was too good not to share here. The man had 3 ponds on his 175 acres.

I promise an update soon. My farm hands (kids) have been gone for a week, I've been sick and have also driven to Commerce for a third goat.

We are butchering the first broilers tomorrow. I'll do my best to get pictures!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

King Corn

My mom and I watched the documentary King Corn while shelling butter beans yesterday. It was truly fascinating to learn that scientists can tell where the carbon in our bodies originated through a hair test. For most of us, that origin is corn.

The government (meaning our tax dollars) pays farmers to produce as much corn as possible. This corn is not edible in its harvested state; it is a raw material that must be processed and it is turned into everything from fuel to sweeteners to animal feed. Don't even get me started on feed lots and feeding corn to cows. This looks like a pretty good article on it if you want more information.

That got me thinking. Is King Corn behind Gluten Free?

All of a sudden, everything on supermarket shelves is labeled gluten free as if gluten is some suspect chemical like MSG. Gluten is simply a protein found in wheat that causes it to be stretchy. If you've ever kneeded bread, you know what I mean. Without gluten, we wouldn't have bread in the traditional sense. I think God was pretty inventive when He came up with gluten. Can you imagine how many kids would go without flour and water paste and playdough without it?

Yes, some people are allergic to gluten. Ciliac's disease is estimated to affect 1% of the population. That hardly accounts for the gluten free fad.

My theory? King Corn is nudging people away from gluten, thereby substituting the wheat, barley and rye in our diets with, you guessed it, more corn. Instead of jumping on the gluten free bandwagon, perhaps we'd achieve better health by cutting back the corn.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fence Day

Fence Weekend, actually- these things take a while. Here are the men of the family driving corner posts. Pretty soon, we will all be able to walk on the driveway without stepping in presents from the chickens (and I don't mean eggs).

I'm also very excited that rotational grazing will be made easier. I plan to move the girls week by week from the browse to the pasture. It will mean a whole lot less fence moving for me! It takes about an hour, once a week to move the electric netting.
We had a nice storm last night which washed in all the "fertilizer" from the chicken tractors. I need to do a better job moving them in straight lines. We have zig-zagged dark green stripes all across the pasture.
Can you see them in the picture? The brown areas are where the grass got a little smothered out around the feeders. I am trying to do a better job watering those areas in now.
I'm off to buy the meaties more feed and then shell all these butter beans.

Monday, July 2, 2012


It's been busy around the farm. I have finally settled down about the goats and no longer feel like a walking panic attack. It helps that they have a shelter now and are respecting their fences.
This is the one-time play ground turned chicken coop/ goat shelter. That's the way we roll around here.
The meaty birds are doing great. I am setting a tentative butcher date of July 21 for the first batch. Just for comparison, here is a picture of the Cornish X and a picture of the Marans chicks. The Marans are a week older!

One Marans chick hatched last night. I need to check on the other broody. I wish I'd given these mamas more eggs because 2 babies is all I expect.
Clyde the duck got a friend yesterday, a Mallard named Clay. My son told me "I picked the smallest one so it would last longer". Does it make me a bad mother that my son expects we'll eat his pet?