This year, we decided to raise and process all our chickens in one batch, for the most part.  Poor S butchered so many last year, but they were all spread out, which was really quite a pain to deal with.  So now, we are almost overrun with chickens–primarily roosters!

We have spent the summer raising about 40 roosters for meat.  At our altitude and low oxygen levels, the standard cornish-rock hybrids won’t survive, so we are forced to use more traditional giant-breed type chickens.  This means that, rather than butchering at the normal 6-8 weeks like most meat birds, we have to raise them longer–around 4 months to be exact.  As a result, we have also had to deal with all the typical problems of standard breed roosters–like escaping from the pen to free range, breeding my hens, roosters challenging each other, roosters crowing at all hours of the day and night, etc.  With over 40 of them out there, I am more than ready to introduce them to my freezer.  I have managed to pre-sale about 10 so far, with several more having been requested.  Since I ask a nice price due to their being fed organically and free-ranging and/or housed in movable temp-fencing so they can always forage, the income has definitely helped pay for raising them this year.

To help us out, in a week and a half, we are hosting a community (of sorts) chicken harvest, where folks will be bringing their birds, and we will all work together to get everyone’s processed.  We have been blessed by someone lending us a poultry plucker so we didn’t have to pluck by hand, and we are expecting to harvest almost 100 chickens in total that day.  It will be interesting!