Poultryless Poultry Keeping – Planning Utility Chickens

Free Ranging HensIt is all about the planning!

We’re finally settled after what ended up a very rushed and stressful move. Our previous landlords are the type that give landlords a bad name – not completing repairs, leaving the property in dangerous conditions, and after months of having to put up with this (despite Environmental Health involvement) they then left us with no water (private supply) and basically told us to just get out there and then! Thankfully we are now moved – to a house where water doesn’t run down the walls when raining and we have clean water; it is amazing how grateful you become for these things – and our lawyers will be dealing with the rest of the matters at hand.

As you may be able to tell I’m a tad angry about this, but as it isn’t really poultry related (bar having delayed our plans at the smallholding) I shall move on to cheerier topics.

Utility Chickens – Breeds

We are now trying to catch up on all the work, both website and outdoors, that have been delayed as a result of the chaos. Gary is getting the ground ready, and then will help my father get the fencing in place so we are fully fox proof.

I’m planning the flock itself. As we are heading into Autumn now there are two choices – buy POL birds, or wait until Spring to hatch out own. I’m more inclined to wait until Spring and hatch. Not only will Gabe love watching the development of egg to chick to chicken; but also it means we can have an egg laying flock and grow on the males for meat.

Utility strains – such as Sussex – are those best suited to this. The hens lay a consistent egg supply, but the males also gain enough weight to become table birds. They will never be as good gainers as those bred for meat, but in many ways they are better in my opinion.

If eating meat, raising your own is by far the most humane way to do so. You know just how well they have been kept and you control the feed that they eat. The only thing I will say is many people become far too attached and end up with cockerels for pets when they first try raising chickens for the table!

Articles on Meat Birds

With the new site upgrade we’ve got all articles now in neater sections – hopefully allowing readers to find the information they need more easily. For meat birds we’ve got a section now on which breeds to pick, and the all important how to cull and prepare a chicken for the table. Please remember this link will contain images of birds being culled and prepared – Raising and Preparing Table Birds.

Posted in My Chicken Diary

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