This year we bought 20 Cornish Cross chickens. They are big, fat, heavy birds that are raised for their big, fat, heaviness. Currently, we have 18 birds, two chicks died within the first couple days we had them and I was worried that this experiment would be a huge failure. I say experiment because this is the first time we’ve raised birds with the sole intention of butchering them. We thought we’d give it a try and if we failed then we could chalk it up to one less thing we will do in the future at Coal Creek Farm.
I’ve never experienced chickens like these. I’m not sure I would recommend them. They never stop eating, but it only takes ten weeks to get them to this size, the size to eat them. I’m not sure how I feel about how they have been bred to eat and eat and eat and eat, it just seems a little….um, not right. I can appreciate the efficiency and I’m sure if I were in the meat bird bidnezz, then I would love these birds for their rapid growth rate.
The other thing I don’t particularly care for is how much they poop. I mean they are eating all the time, so of course, they are pooping ALL THE TIME! Their pen is a mess the minute after I clean it.
I took all the above photos a couple weeks ago when I had originally scheduled to butcher them, but the weather was bad and then the kids had sports and we couldn’t set enough time aside to get it done.
Today we butchered 18 birds. One of the birds was not doing well so we killed her, but did not process her to eat. Which brings me to another reason I don’t care for these birds. If you don’t get around to butchering them on time they start to get too big and then they have heart problems and leg problems. Luckily we just had the one hen start to fail.
I’m not convinced that we will work with these birds again, but oh my, you should see all the beautiful meat I have now. We’ll be grilling chicken tonight, if it tastes as good as it looks, then all the problems these birds bring might be overlooked next year.
Stay tuned, if I have any energy left I’ll post some pictures from today’s festivities. Who’s scared of blood and guts? Don’t worry, I’ll put a big disclaimer at the top of the post to warn you. Okay?