Monday, June 2, 2014

Just Chillin' (with) My Meat Birds

Just chillin' (with) my meat birds. 

So there's something you don't hear every day. In this day and age of factory farming we are more likely to hear the horror stories of the lives of meat birds warehoused in giant buildings with nothing to do but eat all day. But if you're a long-time follower of this blog, perhaps you have already read about Justine's adventure raising meat birds.

We had planned on putting off raising our own meat birds until next year as we have just moved to our new micro-farm, and we're still working on the coop... but when I went into the local feed store and found Cornish Rock (AKA: Cornish Cross / Cornish X) meat birds on sale for a dollar each... well how could a crazy chicken lady pass up a deal like that?

Based upon Justine's experience, I have been raising my meat birds just like I raise my other chickens... but perhaps with a little more feed. Contrary to industry recommendations, I do NOT leave food in front of them 24 x 7. They are fed twice a day just like the rest of my flock.

I started letting them outside (in a chicken "playpen") by 3 weeks. They would have been out sooner, but the crazy spring weather kept us guessing.) Now they are about 5 weeks old and they are free ranging with my egg-layer flock. I have to tell you - my egg producing ladies really have no idea what to make of these giants that make chick sounds!

And you know what? These birds are LOVING free ranging! They are catching bugs, playing, taking dust  baths and lounging in the sun. They are watching the egg ladies and learning to be chickens. And quite interestingly, they are very friendly! 

I care about the welfare of all my critters, and these meat birds are no different. I am refraining from naming them, but I do give them the affection they crave. They are positively gleeful when I go sit in the yard with them and allow them to use me as their own personal jungle gym!

The picture above suggests something quite different from what so many of us have been led to believe about these birds... does it not?

~ Leigh


  1. Lucky chickens to be given a proper chicken life .I live off a major route to a chicken processing plant so the big trucks drive by 24/7. I see tbem up close and personal, featherless, freezing in winter, panting in 100 degree sun while trucks sit broken down, dead in cages from fright, rough handling or what ever. I always apologize for the people who raise them and the people who can see this every day and still not question where their food comes from and at what cost.

  2. I`ve been thinking of getting my chicken coop kits,so this posting has really helped me.I don`t know as much as I`d like yet to about raising them,& with this crazy weather in Pa.,perhaps I`ll wait awhile.phyllis

  3. Thanks very much for posting this, Justine, and for the great video of your critters. Last spring and summer I raised two groups of Freedom Rangers as meat birds. They were easy enough but it turns out that my wife does not like the flavor, so I am definitely going to try the CX on our next go-around.

    In a month we're moving from our current residence to an eight-acre spot in the country where we plan to add more chickens to our flock of five laying hens. We also plan to have goats, so it was fun seeing your goats and rabbits (we have one of them) and ducks and geese, as well as Henry.

    You really have a nice little homestead. Do you grow any of your own feed for your critters? We will have five acres that are now planted in hay, so we are considering growing some hay and some non-GMO grains for feeding the critters. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on their experience with that and how practical--or impractical--that plan may be.

    Keep up the good work. And thank you for educating us about the CX's.

    1. Congrats on your new place! If you have the room to grow some non GMO crops, go for it! I have been buying a non GMO feed as we don't have enough room to grow them ourselves.

      Justine and I both had very successful experiences with CX. My biggest issue with them (if you can call it an issue) is that they are so friendly... but they arent' built to last very long, so I suppose that is a redeeming factor in processing them.


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