January 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm (Books/Publications, Chicken)
Backyard Poultry and McMurray Hatchery catalogue
They’re heeerre….. no, nothing requiring an exorcism, just my first issue of Backyard Poultry and the Murray McMurray Hatchery catalogue. I’m one step closer to chickens. Now my problem is deciding what kind of chickens to order, not so bad as problems go.
My main purpose in raising chickens is to have my own eggs, so I’m looking closely at the egg and dual purpose breeds. I’d like brown or colored eggs, so that helps narrow things down a bit as well, and I need a winter hardy breed. And for the same reasons I like heirloom vegetables, I’m interested in breeds who’ve been around for a long time.
In the Backyard Poultry magazine, I came across an article about the American Buckeye, an old breed being brought back from the brink of extinction. They sound perfect: cold hardy, pea comb, good layers, and quiet. However, Murray McMurray doesn’t offer them yet, so I’ve ordered a few more catalogues from other hatcheries. If I can’t order any of them, I’ll have to choose something else, maybe even a couple different breeds just for comparison. Like I said, a fun dilemma.
December 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm (Chicken, Eggs, Gardening, Local foods, New Years)
As the year draws to a close and the seed catalogues arrive in the mail, my thoughts have turned to the garden. Though I wouldn’t exactly call them resolutions, I do have plans to expand my intake of local food, such as adding at least one more garden bed (hopefully two) so that I can grow potatoes and a lot more basil. If this year’s grapevine survives the winter, I intend to give it company. The biggest step of all: chickens!
I’ve subscribed to Backyard Poultry, whose purpose is self-evident. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll brooder the chicks or have someone else do that for me, and no, I don’t have a coop, but I’ve looked at plans. Small steps. Even though I have found local sources for eggs, I can’t always get them when I want them; there’s the inevitable appointment scheduling to pick them up, etc. I want my own eggs. Yes, I still want a pair of dairy goats, too, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
What are your local food resolutions for next year?
July 1, 2009 at 9:34 pm (Chicken, Livestock, Meat)
Last week I wrote about local meat, and how I bought lamb from a friend. This week I bought chicken from that same friend; however, this meat wasn’t frozen, wrapped and carried in a cooler. Nope, it was clucking.
Between my mom and I, we had ordered 18 roasting chickens, and Monday morning was reckoning time. There were five hands on deck to help process them, my parents, my daughter, my cousin’s son from Portland, and me. Yep, the kid helps and our visiting relation (who is 14 like my daughter) also got initiated in ways of processing your own meat. Honestly, kids aren’t nearly as grossed-out by the experience as adults expect them to be. It helps to explain why we butcher our own chickens as opposed to buying what Tyson has provided in the grocery stores, and to explain how much cleaner home-processed meat is as opposed to that processed in industrial plants.
In that vein, I’ve been reading Everything I Want to Do is Illegal by Joel Salatin, and a study done by a grad student showed that chicken processed on-farm was 25 times cleaner than its industrial-processed counterpart. So not only did I purchase organic chickens who get to live a normal chicken life during their time on Earth, I also took personal responsibility for making sure it was clean and safe to eat.
Some folks may doubt that you can tell the difference between a farm-raised roaster and a Tyson roaster, but one bite will convince them. After all, a farm bird actually tastes like chicken.