Re: Chickens and chicken coops
From: Dick Margulis (dickdmargulis.com)
Date: Wed, 6 May 2020 09:09:50 -0700 (PDT)
On 5/6/2020 11:39 AM, Elizabeth Magill wrote:
Chickens for meat would be a huge operation. They are eaten at 8-12 weeks
old, you'd need roosters and hens so as to have chicks regularly. We have
about 30 chickens and they take up a large space (becuase we treat them
lovingly) and 30 chickens to eat would provide everyone in our community 1
chicken--which is enough food for, I don't know a week? I can't even
imagine the size operation you'd need to keep a community of 30 people in
chicken for a year.

I've raised chickens for meat. A few comments:

1. Maintaining a breeding population (roosters and hens to have chicks regularly) is probably a bridge too far. Buying day-old chicks from hatcheries is far easier and cheaper. You can get 50 every couple of weeks if that represents the rate at which your community will consume them (or every three weeks or every four weeks . . . whatever).

2. A team of three or four people can process 50 meat birds in a few hours if they have a few pieces of equipment. The only one that costs a bit is the plucker, and hand plucking works if you don't want to invest in one. Everything else can be put together from things you probably have on hand. The first time through, you need one person who knows what they're doing and one person who is pretty good with a knife and is willing to learn. The rest is completely unskilled, if messy.

3. State health codes may require that you ship live chickens to a licensed slaughterhouse rather than processing them on the farm. If you can demonstrate that you only feed your chickens to residents and never to guests, you may be able to get around that.

4. The biggest impediment to raising chickens for meat in a community environment is objections from community members, whether those objections be moral, economic, or just basic squeamishness (There Will Be Blood). Moral: Personal values may be in conflict with community values. Economic: As with $5 a dozen eggs, chicken you raise yourself will probably be the most expensive chicken you've ever eaten. Squeamishness: Maybe you can do the work out of sight of squeamish people.

5. My sense of the sentiments of people getting ready to move to Rocky Corner is that we'll likely have layers and probably won't have meat birds, even though people seem okay with having omnivorous neighbors. There seems to be little appetite for turning old layers into soup, either. Maybe that will change after we've lived there a couple of years. Hard to predict.

Dick Margulis
http://www.rockycorner.org/


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