Lauren came to me the other day and announced that we were running low on chickens in the freezer. While I may be able to butcher a chicken faster than I can get in the van and run to the grocery store for one, I cannot fill my freezer as fast as the grocery store can.
Homesteading means thinking ahead….constantly.
How many tomatoes plants do I grow for eating, canning for the winter months, and for the consumption by bugs?
If I want a constant supply of beef in my freezer and it takes 18 months to grow out a steer, when do I call the local dairy to buy a bull calf, assuming they may have one available?
So, when Lolo came to say we were running low on chicken, I needed at least 3 months before I could restock my freezer.
I had to order my chicks and wait for them to arrive.
About 4 weeks in the brood box eating chick feed…
Then the rest of the time in the chicken tractor in the pastures. Fed and watered daily, protected from predators. Taking care that they don’t grow too fast because their legs break easily and I need them to grow to full weight.
Then we need to butcher, shrink wrap and place in the freezer – finally.
So let’s do the figuring….
2 chickens per meal for this family.
Chicken once a week for meals.
26 chicks in a mail order.
Minus 2 for normal mortality rate.
24÷2 = 12 meals
12 meals at one per week = 3 months worth of meals
12 -14 weeks for growing out chicks.
Order new batch of meat chicks every 12 weeks!
If we want to eat all natural poultry, this is the commitment level I need for my family…and that’s all part of homesteading!