From Start to Finish

Some of you might remember that a few months back I got some peeps from the local FFA. Silly me, I did not ask them if they were layers or meat birds. As the cute little peeps began to morph into giant birds, I suddenly realized I had meat birds on my hands, not layers.

You have to understand that seven years of my formative, childhood years were spent living on a small farm in Misourri. In addition to cattle, horses and hogs, this farm was home to a commercial chicken house. If anything in this world will turn your stomach and make you swear off eating chicken, it's working in a commercial chicken house. It took me years after leaving the farm before I could eat chicken without it turning my stomach.

When I realized these birds from the FFA were meat birds, I began a compaign to find someone to take them off my hands. I had about 40-50 dollars worth of starter feed in them before I had switched over to raw milk, clabber and corn that we had grown. I put them on Craigslist and asked simply for what I had in them in feed. No takers. It was the wrong time of the year for folks wanting to raise their own meat birds. So, I duitifully fed and watered them every day. The poor little CornishX birds could hardly walk with their deep, wide breasts and thick legs. When they ran across the dirt, they sounded like ducks waddling. Finally, it came time. We had to butcher them.

My brother, Jim, and his wife, Kelly, came to visit us. They offered to help us butcher the birds last weekend. It was a terribly cold day here in Virginia and we really didn't want to butcher them in the cold. However, it was one of those "now or never" situations. We knew that if we wanted the expert help, we needed to do it. So, Mike and Jimmy braved the cold and butchered 13 birds. By the time they brought them inside to us, the birds no longer resembled the feathered creatures that had been waddling around the yard. Instead, they were the best looking meat I had ever seen! I was amazed! Kelly was great and cut up all but four of the birds, that we kept whole for roasting. The whole birds were so big, we could barely get them in one gallon freezer bags.

Tonight we are having some of that fabulous looking chicken for supper. I have it slowly cooking the crockpot right now and it smells delicious. It is such an awesome feeling raising up our food from start to finish and knowing exactly what was and was not put into it!

Jimmy has butchered a lot of chickens and he said it was the best meat he had seen. I attribute the success of these birds to all the good milk I raised them on!

Thanks, Jimmy & Kelly for all your help! We will be thinking of you tonight while we eat our chicken!


Corinne said...

Oh Tammy, are these the little baby chicks you had in the bathtub? Did they grow that fast?

Ohhhhh...... I have difficulty with this one. The chicken that you were cooking in the crockpot this evening was one of those peeps?

Tammy Renee' Cupp said...

Yes, the little peeps grew up fast! They are a Cornish Cross and are bred to grow exceptionally fast and have huge breasts. Think about the Cornish hens you see for sale in the grocery store.......nice, plump meat. Yes, I have a hard time raising something and then butchering it. I didn't have to see the butchering part. By the time the birds were brought in to me, they looked like a whole chicken from the grocery store.