On the meat harvest

Aichi (nappa) cabbage:  kimchi-ready

Ah, September!  I always love your cool nights and your warm days.  School busy-ness has changed the household routine, as has homework.  The long-season crops like cabbage and Brussels sprouts have begun to flesh out after their Summer of Despair (hot weather, too much rain).  And of those long-season crops, our eyes have cast themselves on the feather-clad crops.  How long before Winner Winner Chicken Dinner?

Dinner on the hoof

Not long at all.  The Freedom Rangers (who, though in their tractor at night, now truly range free during the day) are doing quite well, fattening up nicely.  I am growing enough of them to have enough to sell, thus tipping the meat chicken bank book into the black.  (We’ll keep 18 of the 28 for ourselves.)

Pretty little Red Hen

So too are the turkeys.  Ruby hatched enough for me to sell a few poults this spring, and I am raising two birds for others and one for ourselves, like last year.  This means the turkeys, likewise, are self-sustaining.

Uday, Raghad, and Qusay in a quieter moment

We’ll all be quite glad to see the turkeys off the farm, though.  We have two young toms and a hen, and, while the hen is no problem, the boys are thugs.  I call them Qusay and Uday.  Gobblegobble!

9 responses to “On the meat harvest

  1. After Saddam’s kids? Or is my memory tricking me? And if so, is this just? I remember that Ruby’s a badass, but have no recollection on the tom…

    • Yep, you’re right Kate, Ruby IS a badass, but Earl is a pussycat. Perhaps it’s not quite a direct link but Qusay and Uday were the two baddest-ass brothers I knew of at the time (plus, this movie came out at the same time they started acting mean).

  2. Gobble Gobble indeed. I bet they’ll be tasty.

  3. Toms are AWFUL. I really disliked ours by the end. I’m not rearing turkeys any time soon. Maybe if we had more room, but not in the ‘burbs.

  4. You’ve got to try some Narragansetts. Ours are fabulous, even the males. Our breeding tom, Sir Henry, is 3 now and has not once been thuggish. He chases his own reflection around the car and sometimes mistakes his reflection in the front door for a tom that needs a good chest bumping, but other than that, he’s a doll.

    • Sir Henry sounds like Earl. The only thing Earl challenges is the dog (but then again I put the dog up to it often: she’s here to herd after all). I think it’s plainly the difference between hen-raised young and person-raised. Earl had lots of me time in his youth (as did Ruby obviously) and they, like our first chickens, are absolutely lovely creatures to be around. The great tradeoff is that I ain’t got that kind of time to hand-raise any kind of chick so I have a lot of happy hens tending some flighty birds, and in the case of the young toms, a few attempts at challenging authority (the girl, the dog) or the pecking order (all other birds). I dunno. Penning them might be the best answer…but we know about fencing, and its lack.

  5. El do you ever have problems with predators during the day? And how do you round up all the meat birds to tractor them at night? I have so much unfenced space and multiple dog houses that have been converted to small coops I could use for night time lockup but I find it’s hard to get them to use them!

    • We’re fortunate enough not to have daytime predator problems, Annette. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time…there are always hawks flying around but the dog is very vigilant (as are the eyes on the sky of all, what, 70-odd poultry around the place…once they give the signal everyone heads for cover, and that’s when the dog flies to their aid). I think that with the tractor being “home” to them for so long, they just assumed that’s where they should sleep at night, too, so they corral themselves back in at dusk. They’re also out in a field: if they were closer to a building or some other cover, I am sure that’s where they’d try to sleep at night.

      I guess what I am saying is it won’t work for everyone, but it works pretty well for us. And yeah, I am quite surprised we don’t have more problems with them out in the field. The regular coop is fairly close to the house and the dog trees raccoons and opossums all the time at night…the house is closer to the woods across the road, home to many a sneaky chicken eater.

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