Wednesday, September 11, 2013

TBF 027 :: Raising Meat Chickens, Hot & Dry Farm Updates, and a Hard Lesson Learned

When it comes to raising meat and egg laying chickens on our farm I believe we have been fairly lucky. Other than a few predator problems (which we have mostly solved with our "Chicken Guardian Dog") we have not had to deal with any chicken ailments that I have read about other farmers having to deal with. I hope that some of that is because of the breeds we raise and they management style we have, but I also know that it helps that our farm is fairly isolated from other poultry and that we have just been blessed so far. On this weeks episode though I take some time to answer an e-mail question from Matthew about "Deep Pectoral Myopathy" and what our favorite meat chicken breed is.

To be completely honest I did not know what "Deep Pectoral Myopathy" (also called Green Muscle Disease or Oregon Disease) was, but a little research taught me that it was a problem that possibly cropped up because of genetic issues or lack of blood flow to that particular muscle issue. I also found that there was really no way to tell if a bird had the issue until after slaughter. I'm thankful that so far we haven't had any issues with this yet and I hope that we can stay away from it ... although I'm not sure there is much I can do to prevent it.

When it comes to our favorite meat chicken though I will admit that I do have plenty of thoughts on that! We are very excited with the success of our first hatching of chicks in our new incubator and hatcher (84% hatch rate!) and our ultimate goal is to raise our own meat chickens by keeping a breeding flock and hatching out our own chicks. With the help of a great farmer friend we will hopefully be raising our own French style Poulet Rouge Chickens next year. But, if we weren't able to do our own hatching I would feel comfortable raising a Freedom Ranger or Red Ranger type of bird from one of the hatcheries in our state.

Links Mentioned in This Episode
If you have an input on the topic be sure to leave a comment below or send us an e-mail.

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(if you are interested in the music in this episode check out my brother's record label, Historic Records) 


Rich said...

Have you ever tried the trick of lifting your electric fences with a length of PVC instead of going to the trouble of cutting them and installing posts and gates (similar to the idea behind the rotational grazing thread on Homesteading Today)?

Even if you have three wires instead of just one, I would think that you if took the wire off two or three posts you could lift it high enough to move cattle under them (it might take two PVC posts instead of just one).

I've also pulled the pins on the insulators and dropped the wire onto the ground to move tractors, and cattle across fences.

I've got a "proper" set of working pens on the farm with a crowding tub to get them onto a trailer. But, on the pasture I rented down the road, I improvised a modified Bud Box out of the run-down loading chute area that was already there.

It's probably easier for someone to just search more info about a Bud Box than for me to try to describe it.

But basically, if you sorta understand Bud William's ideas about stockmanship, you can build a simple 12x20 pen, move your cattle into it, then circle them around into a trailer.

I thought it was going to be a battle getting cattle into the trailer, but I also didn't want to spend a bunch of money fixing that loading area. So, I moved some gates and panels around, and once both me and the cattle figured it out, it was relatively easy to load them up.

A Bud Box probably isn't for everyone and if you aren't careful you can get hurt, but it might be worth trying.

calamityjanesfarm said...

What breed of chicken do you use for meat? What is the length of time from hatch to butcher? This was my first episode and I really got a lot of info from it! I'm anxious to hear more! Thanks in advance!

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