What every kitchen needs — chicks on the counter!

Late yesterday I picked up my 35 Cornish Rock meat chicks and 5 Buff Orpington layer chicks from the hardware store two towns over. My old brooder box is not meant for 40 chicks but it will serve until I can contrive something much bigger and better out of scraps this weekend.

I thought for a long time before I ordered the meat chicks two months ago. It wasn’t the prospect of raising them that gave me pause, but of slaughtering them in July on my own. I know perfectly well how to do it but slaughter days always make my heart heavy.

The hardware store is actually offering the services of a mobile processing unit this year: you bring in your birds, and they are slaughtered, plucked, gutted, washed, and returned to you in clean plastic packages. However it costs $6 per bird. It seemed to me that I should not spend $210 to have someone else do my dirty work. If I want to eat chicken (and I do; we love chicken and I’ve hated supporting Perdue) I ought to have the fiber to face the job. Moreover if I had an extra $210 there are a million things I could spend it on instead of to shirk an unpleasant task.

I am always troubled by these moral dilemmas.  In the end I decided against reserving a spot with the mobile processor.

I have two months to tend these chicks, get my tools prepared, and gird my loins.


5 Responses to Chicks

  1. Mindy says:

    We struggle with the same thing every time we butcher a lamb. We birth them and raise them. Like you, we don’t have to do the dirty work. We could call the kill-truck (that’s actually what it’s called here). But they charge $4/lb to come out. We also feel it is important to own up to the difficult side of consuming meat. Good luck!

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Good for you with lambs! I have never slaughtered anything so large and am not sure I could do it. For me, in the case of the mammals, it is something of a guilty relief that inspection is required for sale so I take my steers, lambs, and pigs to the slaughterhouse. But even that makes me sad enough!

  2. Claire says:

    My favorite chick brooder is one of those big metal stock tanks with a framed hardware cloth top. We had one of those long, but shallow oval tanks that was leaking- worked perfectly for chicks with ample space.

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      An old water trough would be PERFECT but unfortunately I don’t have one that’s not in use. I’m going to scout some old sap tanks today to see if one might work and be available. Otherwise I’ll be building something simple.

  3. Missy says:

    I know what you mean. I draw the line at doing chickens (I don’t know how, I don’t have time and I don’t like the idea of the chore) and DH just plain won’t. So we are still eating shop chicken. Maybe one day.

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