Farm Boys Raising Chickens

Raising meat chickens has been a great experience for our whole family. At first the care consisted of keeping them in the basement (NOT FREE RANGE) under warm lights and changing out their bedding a couple times a day. Quickly they were ready to be moved to the barn to a bigger chicken box.

After couple of weeks or so in the barn, they were finally ready to free range in the chicken yard eating bugs, grass and scraps from the kitchen in addition to their feed, which by the way has increased greatly as the weeks have gone by.
These birds are really strange. Because they are cross bred, they are designed to be meat birds. They are lazy, eat constantly and many times have to flap their wings just to balance themselves when they run across the yard.

The boys have had a disciplined routine of feeding and caring for these chickens for the past many weeks.

We have had a few predators but because of all the time and effort going into these birds, the final weeks bring anxious anticipation and watchful eyes insuring that nothing gets to these birds. Last night, the older boys slept in their tent on the deck outside overlooking the chicken yard, armed with bows and sling shots just in case a opossum or stray cat came preying upon their chickens.
So far, we have decided that raising meat for our family will be a yearly event although we will be switching to spring raising rather than fall due to the weather.

More updates on our home grown meat operation in a few weeks…


  • sarah says:

    very cute!!! Is Pierce camera shy?
    I’d be willing to bet you will be vacuum sealing a lot of chicken soon… 😉

  • WOW! I’m impressed. Are you calculating the cost of everything? I’d be interested in knowing how much you save doing this vs. buying free range chicken at the store.
    These must be the birds that Sams uses for their rotisserie chickens – they are gigantic.

  • Bethany says:

    The cost??? ‘I am VERY interested in how much this whole thing is going to cost…..
    Yes we are keeping up with how much this is going to cost us from beginning to end. We will figure that out after we process them because we aren’t sure how much more food we are going to have to buy….they are going through a lot of it though —
    WHOOOOHHOOOO Vacuum sealer here I come!!!! That is my job!
    This weekend we are going over to our friends house and help them with their chickens….so I will get to test the food saver and see how it does!

  • […] If you are wanting to raise your own meat, the best advice I could give is to find a family who has already done this before and have them teach you!  We learned by helping and watching friends of ours who showed us “how it is done”.  When it came time to process our own birds, we knew what to do.  If you haven’t followed the chicken raising experience, you can check out the Family Farming section of my blog. Where to get birds: We ordered our chicks from a man who owns a small hatchery in Kentucky.  Our chicks arrived early one morning and my husband and boys went to the post office to pick them up. What Kind: We ordered a cornish rock cross which means that his parents looked something like Rocky on Chicken Run and his mother looked something like the round fat cornish hen. In fact, with this bird, they grow to be so overweight, that their legs will break just from the weight if you do not process them within a 7 to 12 week time frame. They are true meat chickens. There are 3 different types of chickens: Meat birds, Layers, and Dual Purpose. If you are wanting to raise a bunch of birds at one time for meat…you would want to get meat birds.  However, this spring I will be ordering a dual purpose bird mainly for eggs, but after the egg production lifespan is over, it can be for food as well. How many: We bought 100 birds and spilt half of them with another family in our church. Where to keep them: In the beginning, as baby chicks, we kept them in a warm pen with straw and a warming light.  It is best to have a pen that does not have corners, octagon or circle shape is best.  When bigger, we wanted our chickens to be able to forage for bugs and grass, however we didn’t want them running around the yard at will. We had predator concerns with dogs and opossums so we kept ours in an electric fenced area. Ideally, next time we will build a special chicken tractor to keep them in that will protect them from predators but also enable us to move them around the yard to eat bugs and grass. […]