"Pic-Of-The-Week" Homemade doughnuts by AL
Sufficient Self Forum
Living a more Self Sufficient & Sustainable Lifestyle
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I think both the cornishX and Freedom Ranges I have raised cost about 1 per pound. VS buying free range meat at the grocery at almost 5 bucks a pound it's a steal.
Bee you had me worried there for a minute with your head blend cookies, at least until you said it was for the dog.
I do remember the thread with your broody hen raising those little meat balls. She did a great job.
I look forward to following along.
One of my Maremmas raised 15 meaties last year on my back lawn. The dogs set up a 'no fly zone' to keep the hawks and the owls that were living in the barn next to us away from the yard. We only lost 1, that fell in my little whiskey barrel waterfall and drowned at night. We plan to do at least 50 this year, in 2 batches of 25. I am turning the small corral into a 'chicken corral'. There is a cattle panel shelter out there now, and I want to plant some spring wheat and chicken mixes plus some other plants for them to hide in and peck around. They will have a Maremma living with them most of the time again too. The free ranging really kept our costs down, as they wound up eating only 1/2 as much food as before i turned them out. It was harder to keep enough water with them!
I think this will be a great thread, looking forward to seeing your plucker pics.
I would love to see pics of that Maremma in action if you have any, Petey! That would be a great addition to the thread. I find a good dog is a wise investment if you have or want to have chickens, no matter what area you live in.
If you can't have a dog and still want to free range, an investment in electric poultry netting would also be a good option. Easy to move and will keep out 4 ft. preds, even bears, if one is to believe the reports.
I agree, Petey, the free ranging of the CX really cuts down on the feed cost. For me it was no more than if I had added 20 layers to my flock and had to dish out more in the feeder each evening. Yes, they do act like pigs when it's feeding time, more so than the layer flock, but they can only eat what you put out and no more.
I noticed the huge water consumption on my CX also and I have a theory about that. The high metabolic rate of these chickens seems to cause liquid feces that do not get to digest properly, no matter what they are fed. Those liquid feces contain much liquid and electrolytes that are normally absorbed from the intestinal tract in normal digestion~something these birds seem to lack.
Now, think about heavy, fast growing birds that are losing their electrolytes at a steady rate and what that does to their muscle function~particularly the heart. No matter how much water you give these chickens it doesn't replace those electrolytes, nor can any feed formula completely replace the minerals and vitamins lost as their feed moves through their bodies so quickly. What I hear from most folks raising these birds the accepted way, the more commercially approved way, is that they lose a percentage to the heat or stress. Too much high pro feeds, too little activity, too much fluid and electrolyte loss....with humans it takes a little longer to produce health problems, with a bird that has a normal life span of 3-5 mo. you are asking for a heart attack in short order.
This is the reason I place the unpasteurized ACV in their water each and every time I refill it. The meaties don't seem to care about the ACV taste and will swill that water anyway, so you can put more in than you would for a layer flock. The vitamins, minerals and probios in the ACV can help replace what those birds are losing and, along with the exercise of foraging, can help them avoid heat or stress related deaths and maybe even replace the loss of good bacteria in their bowels caused by constant diarrhea.
As for the plucker, I've got some pretty neato ideas on the plucker after seeing some YouTube videos on some of the same type. I don't think these folks have explored the potential of these pluckers from the SS viewpoint....but I intend to do so!
I am wanting to do meaties this year. We'll see how it goes though. Rght now, I have too much going on to think about taking on another project like that and I am losing prime time to do it, because the summer will be murderous on them.
Cletapotamus is the main chicken guardian. He LOVES his chickens. Bruno helps, but he isn't as attached to them.
This year the chickens will get a dedicated corral as I want to get the yard in shape and avoid the elephant poop the meaties tend to leave in their path!
Do you make your own raw ACV?
The chicken that drowned, I dry plucked and froze him then fed him to the dogs. The meaties do pluck pretty easily, but I would still rather have a plucker to make quick work of it and be more thorough!
Thank you for those lovely pics, Petey!!! Those dogs are beautiful and their faces remind me so much of my lovely Lucy, a Lab/GP mix that I had for many years and had to be put out of her misery last year due to old age and pain. She was the best chicken dog I've had to date and she is sorely missed.
They sure are right on top of guarding your meaties! You can tell that those birds can't make a peep without the dogs knowing it.
I made my own ACV for the past 5 years as I lived with a big orchard in the back yard. I still have some of that ACV stored in jugs to use with this batch of meaties and I'll probably just split the mother into regular ACV to infect it with the spores so I can continue my good probios.
I agree...the plucking of CX is so different than regular yard birds. So easy, almost like wiping the feathers off with your hands. It is for that reason that I hope to dry pluck with this plucker, if possible. One can only try it and see.
If it can be done, I also hope to keep all those feathers, wash and dry them and make me some feather pillows. After watching an episode of Dirty Jobs and seeing how they make feather pillows out of the duck and geese feathers and down, I'd like to try some of my own. I know the meaties won't have the down, but their body feathers are soft, new and fluffy. All my meaties had their full feathering, were clean and snowy and had very little body/feather odor or dirt on them.
This is a group of my CX on processing day:
They have been great dogs. They aren't 2 until this March, but being loose on 250,000 acres, they choose to stay with their stock, mostly the chickens by day. They take turns doing runs out to the pastures to check on the sheep and goats.
I would love info on how you make your ACV, if you are able to start it without a mother. We have a LOT Of fall apples on the ground every year i can use, that have been going to the critters. I have some in a crock right now, and they seem to be pretty well fermented, so I strained them and its just sitting there...not sure if that is the right process or not. I have a small bit of raw ACV, but there was no mother on it when I bought it. I put a little in my crock anyway. I REALLY need to make my own as I have many uses for it here.
I am really interested to know how it turns out, if you use your feathers!
There are a few threads on here about making your own ACV but you have the general idea. If you let your own apple juice sit long enough it should ferment and finally form a mother....just takes time and exposure to mold spores in the air. I just juiced some of my apples and put the juice in a glass jug with a paper towel rubber banded across the top and left it somewhere dark and room temp. Every once in awhile I swirled the contents around.
One of the jugs was infected with a mother from Braggs ACV and it progressed a little faster than did the others, of course.
Your dogs sound great! My GP mix would wander away if I didn't keep her contained with a wireless electric system....oh, she'd come back before too long, but that wandering away from the flock was a worry to me.
If I do get another stock dog again, I might like to try the Maremmas...are they easy to train to obedience?
Not having had a Pyr, I can't compare them. I do know the reason I chose Maremmas was because when I asked different breeders why THEY chose the breed, they all gave the same answer. "They stay closer to the stock"