Raise chickens for meat in 8 short weeks!
The quality of chicken that you get at the grocery store these days is getting worse. There is a big difference between chicken raised on pasture and what you find on the shelf at the store.
Pastured poultry is:
- better for the environment
- better for the chickens
- better for us meat eaters
Break free of the limited options at the grocery store and take matters into your own hands. Start raising your own broiler chickens for meat. No other area of agriculture can give you such high quality protein in such a short amount of time.
Get your own birds from the egg to the oven in 8 weeks!
Since raising my first batch of chickens in 2012 I have fallen in love with chickens and all they have to offer. Those little squawking balls of feathers have completely transformed my life (and my gut). Few things are as rewarding as enjoying a gourmet, 5 star, farm-to-table meal on some random weekday because you grew it all yourself.
Chickens raised on grass:
- taste remarkably better
- seriously, forget what you think you know
- don't need antibiotics
- let's save the pharmaceuticals for human emergencies
- have a higher level of Omega 3 Fatty ACIDS
- who doesn't want to reduce their risk of heart disease? perhaps curb the effects of arthritis?
- have more beta carotene
- while we're at it let's improve our vision, strengthen our immune systems, and improve our skin quality
Alright, alright, so you're already sold on how great pastured poultry can be, what do you do next?
Step 1: Figure out, is it worth it?
Sure you want to raise your own broilers, but it should not cost you $75 a bird to do it.
Even if you're not doing it as a business, it is a good move to make sure that this is going to be an expense that makes sense to you and your family. I know it'll be worth it!
Pastured poultry can be a profitable addition to your farm once you know what you're doing.
What other livestock carries with it the health benefits of pasture-based protein with a 2 month turnaround? That said, you need to know ahead of time if it makes sense for your business.
Step 2: Build your chicken tractor
You can raise 60 chickens a year with 2,100 square feet of yard. (That's roughly 12 parking spaces.)
With daily moves the manure doesn't smell, you won't need lawn fertilizer, and you can use the chicken tractor for other things when it doesn't have chickens in it.
I built my first chicken tractors in 2013 and they are still in use today. At roughly $165 each, they are easy to built, cheap to get started, and offer quick return on your investment.
I have 24 chicken tractors on farm and have raised as many as 2,400 birds in one season.
Step 3: Get your chicks
The connection to your food starts here.
You have set up your brooder, you're already told your family and friends your plans, and it is all about to get real. Don't underestimate the responsibility of raising other living things. It is now your job to give those birds good lives, raise them responsibly, and make sure nothing goes to waste in the end.
Your first batch will seem daunting, but in time it becomes second nature and you will wonder how you lived without broiler chickens.
The record keeping starts here.
You are going to want to raise birds for your own consumption, but you are also adding it as part of your business. There is always room for improvement. There is no way you are going to improve your practices over time without proper record keeping
From the day your chicks arrive to the day they go to the customer you have the opportunity to learn something new. Embrace the challenge, hone your craft, and deliver quality product to those who do not have the resources to grow it themselves.
Step 4: Raise your chickens
Daily chores can take you as little as 5 - 10 minutes per day.
There is of course the one bad day for the chickens as the end, but that can be handled by other people in most cases if need be.
Day-to-day you will get to enjoy seeing your birds grow, learning what it is like to be a poultry farmer, and develop an appreciation for the relationship between your lawn and your food.
I can move, feed, and water a set of 8 chicken tractors (240 birds) in under 30 minutes.
If you use a different system you can improve upon those numbers. Broilers in chicken tractors can be run between rows of vegetables or fruit trees, can be managed by apprentices, and can fill a gap in your product offerings.
You can choose to either have it be a mainstay of your farming operation or have it be a niche addition to your diversified farm business plan.
Step 5: Enjoy!
I mean, look at the picture and tell me you're not hungry.
Within as little as two months you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will have broken free of the conventional agricultural system, you'll have become more self-sustaining, and you'll get to experience chicken in a way that few people these days can claim.
Remember what you're doing this for, enjoy the process, and share the result.
Not only will you be able to enjoy world class chicken, but you will be able to share it with people who don't have the means to grow their own.
It is important to never forget that sustainably raising chicken, vegetables, fruit, beef, honey, or whatever your passion is, shapes the fabric of our society and provides a healthier option to people who otherwise would go without.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
You're in, so... what's next?
There has to be a place to get started, right? Right.
Before you think about how you are going to transform your back yard or your pasture into a poultry playground and certainly before you order your first chicks you are going to want to do some math.
There, I said it, the scary dirty word "math". Don't worry, I've done all the work, you just have to put in your answers. Enter the Pastured Poultry Packet. In the packet I walk you through, step by step, how to calculate the cost of raising broiler chickens on your farm or homestead.
THEN, if you couldn't imagine it getting easier, I published a book walking you through, stem-by-step, how to build your very own chicken tractor with Stress-Free Chicken Tractor plans.
Stress-Free Chicken Tractor Plans
Learn how to build your own chicken tractor from scratch with only light carpentry skills.
Pastured Poultry Packet #1
Answer the question, "Does this make financial sense?" with this easy to follow business solution. Each chapter brings you one step closer to knowing what the true cost of a chicken is.