early morning at the chicken pen
Tonight we loaded up the broiler chickens and took them down to the processor. They’ll be butchered very early tomorrow morning, and I’ll pick them up after they’ve been cooled to about 50 degrees.
Strangely, I wasn’t very excited about spring this year. I wasn’t ready to start the garden, I wasn’t ready to start a new batch of chickens. But once they were here, morning chores became my most favorite part of the day.
You can see in the picture above how relaxed this batch of birds was. This was the usual scene. Some eating or drinking. Some resting. Some inside, some outside. Our new chicken shed ended up costing us more than we expected, but the difference it seems to have made in the disposition of the birds was worth it. It will be interesting to see if it holds true for the next batch. Some batches of birds just have nicer personalities than others.
We started with 128, and dropped 118 off tonight. That puts me at a death loss of 7.8%. This is good. I plan for 20%, and shoot for 10%. It is possible that we could lose one or a few yet. Some could succumb to stress overnight (we actually lost one in the trailer on the way to the processor), or sometimes the inspector will condemn a couple at butchering time. All are already sold, and have been for awhile. I have 54 sold already for the fall batch so I think I’ll up that batch to 150 birds.