I’m a real farmer now

Well, this morning I woke to a roosters crow which meant today was the day. 3 of my 7 chicks were boys and I put my country raised childhood experiences to good use. Still had to call my mum 1/2 way through my first one for some help.
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  • Wow Cres, what a contraption, it looks scary.  My stomach churned a bit looking at it. I must be a bit soft.  Hand plucking is what I can remember when we were kids.  The two eldest children each learned to pluck.

  • If anyone here is looking for a quick way to pluck their poultry on a regular basis, you can build a Whizzbang Plucker for relatively cheap and the time it takes is ludicrously quick. The expensive part is the rubber fingers and from what I've read the better ones prove their worth for longevity. 

    I was about to build one for a friend but I found a brand new commercial stainless steel one on Grays auctions that we got a steal. The chances of anyone knowing what it was let alone wanting it was pretty low!  It even came with a full set of spare fingers.

    My plucking skills are less than mediocre. It took me around 20mins for a single chook last time as I don't get much practice unfortunately.  I'm sure it'd work a treat for Doug's batches of quail. You can adapt the size of the drum and number of fingers.


  • I just checked them out Christa - they sure are ugly.  I think I'd stick to my sussex.  They are such pretty, majestic birds

  • Nice work Susan.  

  • School or a kindergarten Hatching program have seen protesting about how this produces unwanted chickens and is not good but has anyone taken the chickens and raised  as seems like a cheap way to get young birds for meat or egg production because the School or a kindergarten  are doing all the work.

  • for me, this was all about preserving the life of a broody araucana that was losing condition cause I couldn’t break her and also as a bonus, rebuilding my flock with a couple of new layers.  The eggs were free (from my parents) and when they hatched, I knew I couldn’t keep them all but also knew I could deal with them when the time came.  Wasn’t really keeping track of cost.  But I needed 3 new layers (free when normally $60 for heritage breeds like Sussex or at least $25 for commercial layers), I got 3 chicken dinners and I can potentially sell my extra bird (but more likely will just give her away.   Waiting to see which chicks lay first.  I don’t think you could do it sustainably in suburbia, but easily on my farm one day.  I would grow a lot of feed myself - my parents used to do a fermented grain which kept cost of feed down + free range.   I’ve been quite impressed with the Sussex as a meat chicken and as they are also good egg layers, they’d make a good dual purpose bird. 

  • What  can you feed birds grown for meat as if have to buy all the food then that could get expensive  but there seems to be a lot of different plants  that could be fed  but can the birds eat safely .Jerry Coleby-Williams did a program on growing protein and some of those may be useful.

  • Thats why I focused on quail. Can keep males to supply fertile eggs for hatching. I think it would be economical to raise meat birds but the issue is the rooster. I cant keep one on my 2000m^2 and buying the eggs or chicks is so expensive. Think I need to just keep churning out quail. I have 60 ready to butcher in 2 weeks and just hatched another 80+.  I have finished crunching the numbers and each quail costs $2 to get to 6 weeks. My breading stock costs close ti $400 a year to feed so if I can process 300 birds that works out at another $1.30. So each bird is $3.30 and 3 birds for us for a meal is under 10 bucks. Plus they are way tastier than chicken.

    None of this takes into account the 1000 eggs, well 600 after I take out 400ish to incubate.

    Quail can be bought for 5 or 6 dollars, so it is a bit cheaper but the bonus is knowing how they are raised.

  • Is it feasible to grow chickens for meat in suburbia? What's the cost -- do you think -- from egg or chick to slaughter day?

    Retail poultry is obscenely cheap but the whole factory system is diabolical not only in way of cruelty but it is extremely unhealthy for the rest of us in way of infections and chemical inputs.

    If you can raise a chicken ( say for the table -- $15?) is it worth the investment?

    I've raised  rabbits (interstate of course) and until the latest viruses (cost of immunisations $$$) it was indeed an economical home slaughter and cooking enterprise.

    My wife says she won't eat Guinea Pigs if I farmed them.

    Since sexing is a neighbours' and sleep issue is the first crow a good call for slaughter that will give you a prime bird? The only roosters I've grown were bantams.

    I'd think adding a rotating supply of 3-4 meat chooks to my flock would be feasible but

    • I don't have an incubator
    • Oftentimes there is a hen pecking issue with introduced stock.
    • Councils have a chook limit per property size. As my local council insists on ratios (below)

    6399128093?profile=RESIZE_710xI see where chooks will first crow at four or five months of age. That's a good sized bird, isn't it? A meat bird. 20 weeks or so. And 20 weeks of feed for one chook would be well below $15.And you could slaughter a chicken per month if you micro-managed...

    That then begs the question of getting the supply of...what's feasible without going full on or over spending? I don't see myself as  egg hatcher. I'm too heavy.

  • This place has a table breed HERE.   Not such a pretty face, one that only a mother could love.  We night call in when we visit Dianne's place next time, so I can admire the other breeds. 

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