An environmentalist can oppose factory farming because it’s reckless stewardship. A conservative can oppose factory farming because it is destructive to small farmers and to the decent ethic of husbandry those farmers live by. A religious person can oppose factory farming because it is degrading to both man and animal. —Matthew Scully
The next thing on our list was to order meat birds, also known as Cornish Cross chickens. The peeping box arrived in the mail and we opened it to fluffy mass of yellow. “Oh, you’re so cute!” I said. Then I remembered, “…but I’m going to eat you.”
We looked at these chickens differently than our egg layers. Their purpose was to feed us, and they would only be around a short time. They were bred to reach maturity in a short 3 months, compared to 5 months for heritage breeds. As adults, they would be a bigger, stouter chicken, with thicker legs and breasts. Little eating machines, they grew like crazy and in no time at all they were out of their swimming pool nursery and running around in the coop.
Why grow meat chickens instead of getting them from the store? We first were convinced of the inferiority of factory farm meat after we watched the movie, “Food, Inc.” Here is a short clip:
Watching that movie gave us the push we needed to change our meat sources from factory farms to pasture raised. Now that we lived on an acreage, we were excited to raise that meat ourselves.
Soon it was moving day—out of the crowded coop and into the chicken tractor in the chicken yard. A chicken tractor is a cage that you can move around. It is partially open for sunshine, and partially covered for shade and weather protection. It provides security from predators, but access to fresh grass, sunshine, and bugs. Our inspiration came from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Below is a video link of Joel explaining how it works: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/12/chicken-farming.aspx
Our chickens were growing fast—now we had to figure out what to do with them when it was butchering time.