Thursday, September 25, 2008

Questions from friend Rebecca on Raising free range chickens

I have a problem. Maybe some of you will have advice...

For the past five months, I’ve been raising a flock of free-range chickens. But recently, I’m afraid I’ve run into a snag. And I can’t find an answer to this anywhere on the internet, so I decided to post.

My endeavor began two years ago when I bought six acres of virgin mountain land. Near the center of my land, I built an organic shelter for my new flock of Rhode Island Reds. This shelter was located near a stream, under an old willow tree, and it was woven from hickory branches and hemp rope. It is now occupied by twenty-two chickens and a lute player from Asheville who lulls my birds to sleep each night with old Celtic ballads and recitations of Rumi.

The initial stages of my project went well. I lost four birds to coyotes and five to a wandering spirit (fences are so confining). That leaves me with my aforementioned twenty-two fat hens, who have recently reached physical and emotional maturity. That’s where I’m stuck.

After reading numerous testimonies of homeschool nutrititional vim and vigor, I bought a Champion juicer. I mean, if people can juice a bean sprout... can you fathom the power of a fresh-juiced chicken! ‘Talk about a massive shot of all-natural breakfast protein!

So, everything it went OK for the first two birds. Sure, the kids complained a little, wanting their soy flour and Nubian goat milk smoothies back -- but I put down the law. On my third bird, however, I think I got a feather or something caught in the motor. Because now my kitchen smells like burnt hair whenever I hit “start.” And the Champion customer department service keeps hanging up on me whenever I call. So, first off, do any of you know of a local juicer-repair-shop? If you do, let me know.

Anyway, so I had no idea what I was going to do with all of these chickens. But suddenly, in the middle of teaching third-grade math one day, Eureka! My grinder!!!! Chicken flour!! It’s like a protein and a carb all at once! I could make chicken flour bread, and cover two food groups at once!

So I’m writing to see if any of you have tried this with your grinders? Any pros? Any cons? Do you take off the beaks or leave them in tact for roughage?




(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 8:25am on August 17th, 2008
I find that by adding the feathers, you get a lighter bread. The beak and talons had much needed bulk and can help with bowel movements, but makes bread much harder to get to rise and add stoo much weight to biscuits. However, in the future, you may want to try breeds other than Reds since they are prone to wandering.

I hope this helps.
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(Dallas / Fort Worth, TX) wrote
at 4:19pm on August 17th, 2008
you guys are hilarious!
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(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 6:30pm on August 17th, 2008
I've only tried this when I raised my Chocobos, but it just might work. I use the beaks and feathers as a protein supplement for my dragon. He loves it and it's a lot cheaper than dear meat. Plus, it's a little more humane. Since kids can be dragon-like, it might work for them. You can add it to Slim Fast, too, which makes for a grainier shake, but the fiber packs a real punch, if you know what I mean. Hope that helps.
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(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 10:37pm on August 17th, 2008
just take the chicken by the throat..ring it as hard as you in a large pot..depending onthe size of the bird. place in scalding hot water...the feathers will fall off...wear some yellow dish gloves..the good ones..spend the extra buck! and voila!! chicken ala carte!!! dismember the body parts..soak overnight in buttermilk..coat lightly in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper..heat oil..( olive, of course ) and fry it!!! make sure to cover the pan so ya' don't splatter the know there is an Earthfare coming to J.C...maybe one day when you're picking up your chirren from PA you could just stop in and buy some "free range" boneless, skinless..chicks!! Not as much to clean up..While your at it you might want to stop by barnes and noble and pick up a copy of Marcia Ramsland Simplify Your Life...Speaking of boarding schools did you by any chance attend Rabun Gap??? It was grreat seeing you today..and where did the cozy green hoody come from?? might need to copy you!! J
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Teronya wrote
at 4:35am on August 18th, 2008
Having had some experience with chickens who have successfully reached emotional and physical maturity, I would suggest purchasing a rooster. A rooster will reach physical maturity fairly quickly, and yet apparently emotional maturity is not a requirement for the job he has to perform. One rooster is all you need for a hen house. In fact, you may find that twenty-two chickens are not enough for one rooster. This leads to a great math problem you can use for your class....
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Rebecca wrote
at 6:00am on August 18th, 2008
Thanks for all the help, girls. It means a lot.

These suggestions are great, and I'm considering all of them except for the rooster. (We are using the Gary Ezzo method of hen rearing, and so our hens frolic sweetly by day, innocent in the ways and burdens of the world. When the time comes for our hens to start a new family, we plan to invite a limited number of classically=trained roosters into our home for a supervised courting model that will determine whether or not there is a philosophical unity between our broods. We have little tolerance for the hanky panky that happens in most adolescent hen houses.)

Meanwhile, today I'm making a healthful batch of Rhode Island Red chunk au natural yogurt with free-range Nubian goat milk. I'm making a double=batch, so if anyone wants to try some, let me know.

(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 8:38am on August 18th, 2008
"Meanwhile, today I'm making a healthful batch of Rhode Island Red chunk au natural yogurt with free-range Nubian goat milk. I'm making a double=batch, so if anyone wants to try some, let me know." WE'LL BE RIGHT OVER! YUMMY!
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(Kentucky) wrote
at 3:03pm on August 18th, 2008
I personally would just put on the wolf costume and eat them raw. It’s the way nature intended and killing your meal in your own mouth is the only true way to start a complete natural digestive process. You should first eat the entrails as they are the easiest to access and definitely the highest in flavor and aroma. Once the bird starts to cool you could move to the legs or breast but I usually find myself just chewing on the head or a claw for several minutes looking around at any potential thieves of my meal. Once I feel like the proverbial coast is clear I will take the largest portion of my bird, in mouth, and run into the tall grasses so I can enjoy it in peace. Once you have filled your belly you can then return to your offspring and regurgitate a portion into each of their mouths giving them the advantage of predigested fresh chicken. You can return to the carcass for several days and eat off it if you like or just roll in it so that your neighbors won't bother it.
That's my favorite recipie, you can add spices where you want but this is a family staple in our house!
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Shelley said...

DUH!!!! You should be using the VitaMix...not the juicer!!!! You need all the goodies intact!!!!
Let me know how it goes!!!

Hoping that you get the HELP you need!! :-)

In HIS Mighty Grip~

Angie said...

IS there an attachment I can get for my kitchenaid to do this???

Lori said...

I agree with Shelley...use the VitaMix!!