Home school at my house today……

I am so thankful for good friends! Today we had our chicken harvest and had a wonderful time of fellowship and …hard work!
A couple of weeks ago, we put off our chicken harvest because our chickens had not reached the weight we desired – that meant another couple of weeks of feeding and caring for them. Finally, we planned a harvest for today and the weather was absolutely beautiful. Our friends came to help us out… Out of the 27 people… 21 of them were children ages 15 and under. Lest you think this ended up being a big disaster, we actually had a great home schooling day!
The girls were great helpers with the babies and alternated babysitting with being bucket runners; carrying the chickens from the outside processing area to the kitchen where we were waiting to clean up and package them. Actually, many of the young ladies skinned and cleaned chickens as well.

The boys were chicken catchers, the young men were in charge of the killing, and a handful of others were assigned to gutting and skinning.

Several weeks ago, my husband asked two brothers if they would like to figure out how to turn our powerless chicken plucker into something a bit more powerful. These young men rigged up a powerful chicken plucker using a weed eater! I might have to interview them for a guest blog post on just how they did this. Very ingenious work! We skinned most of them because of time, but plucked several. It is much faster to skin them.

This morning at breakfast the children were talking about today being our chicken harvest day. Everyone was excited that this day had finally come.
My oldest son says to his sister, “You will need to keep your kittens on the back deck today.”
To that she says, “Why?”
He then replies, “You have to make sure they do not get off the deck because I don’t want them to eat my live’ in.”
He has worked too hard to see his “live’ in” go to the cats so he was making sure that all details of the day were covered to insure a successful harvest.
This being our first experience as chicken farmers, I watched the children suddenly become aware of things that they had previously never thought to care about. They were aware of the cold temperatures and what we might have to do on very cold nights to protect the birds. They monitored feed intake and learned about different kinds of feed and ingredients that were necessary for growth and health. They cleaned the barn on many occasions and learned about composting old hay and waste. What can you compost and what not to compost? What is composting anyway and how does it work?
They became very aware of predators and built traps to catch troublesome ones. They caught escapee birds with their hands and put them back in the fence.

Here is the trap they made for the troublesome opossum out of scrap pieces – metal, wire, springs, latches etc… Here they explain how their spring-loaded-trip-wire cage works. They researched what food would be good for bait and gathered cat food and marshmallows because I was fresh out of raw fish. They propped the cage door open with a stick that is standing in oil. The idea is that the opossum will want the bait and walk past the trip wire triggering the stick to slip and slam the lid shut and lock the latch.

Through the chicken butchering process, they learned how to process a chicken from beginning to end. They learned to identify the parts of a chicken and check the liver for discolorations or spots which would render the bird not consumable. They saved certain organs for fish bait and packaged them in little to-go type containers for fishing trips.

They realize that raising and growing food is a lot of work, but also know the rewards.
Now that our first family meat raising project is over, we have more than a freezer full of organic home grown chicken. It is a great feeling knowing that we raised these birds and processed them ourselves. We are so thankful that God blessed our efforts with a bountiful harvest. Our children have learned many valuable lessons of hard work and perseverance.

It has been so rewarding watching the children as we raise these birds. This entire experience has matured them in so many ways and has knit our family together in ways I can’t describe. Strange as it may sound! I love that “going back to the land” way of life!

6 Comments

  • Christine says:

    I sure want to hear about the “weedeater chicken feather plucker” It looks quite interesting.

  • Candace in San Antonio says:

    AMAZING! I am SO ready to pack up and move to the country! Hopefully, someday soon! I’ll sure miss reading your blog once it’s gone. Thanks for all your encouraging and wise words……..To God Be The Glory!
    Solus Christus,
    Candace

  • sarah says:

    Wow. That was some kinda post. That makes me grateful for city life and the wonders of Costco where the chicken comes in nice clean boneless skinless packages. The weedeater contraption looks great!

  • sarah walston says:

    Sarah…..I’m SO WITH YOU on this one!!!
    When we were little and we lived on my Grandparents’ farm, we raised everything we ate. We were spared from the gory stuff though. We’d go to town once a month or so and when we’d come home there’d be meat in the freezer…NOW I understand – then I didn’t…. LOL!

  • sarah says:

    hahahaa… the meat fairy came!

  • Sally says:

    That really is something else…very cool!
    I have to say, I’m glad it’s not me doing it, but I love how much you and your family are enjoying it and are learning from it…again, it’s just so cool! 🙂

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