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Need some help, chicken mommas!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, I am NOWHERE near homesteading or living off the grid, but I hope to be there one day! For now, this is my question: I have a lady that I buy eggs and raw cow and goat milk from. She is now buying some chicks for meat birds, in addition to her layers. I'd like to go in on a sort of "meat bird co-op" that she's doing with several other families...we help pay for the time and expense (which is minimal, as they are free-range and only supplemented with grains...it gets very drought-y here in the Central CA valley...), then all families pitch in and help on butchering day, and we come home with good chicken for $1-$2/lb. Yay! But this is the first time that I've done this with chickens...we've had large amounts of game and beef in a stand-up freezer when I was growing up, but now I'm looking at freezer space and wondering how much I'll need. I'm thinking that 50 chickens should be enough for our family...any thoughts on how much freezer space they'll take up?? Thanks in advance for your help!!
post #2 of 6
Backyardchickens.com has a whole forum devoted to meat chickens. Might be worth asking over there.
post #3 of 6
Dunno what breed she's going to raise, but in my last batch of meat birds, they ended up being about 5 lbs. each dressed.
Depends on how much room you have, 50 sounds like a lot of birds at once, for freezer space AND for harvest day work. I can only butcher and clean 4-5 birds a day by hand before I'm spent.

edit: a 5 lb. chicken is going to be larger than a cantaloupe, smaller than a basketball.
post #4 of 6
We eat around fifty 7-8lb chickens in a year.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Haha, Tizzy!! Chicken and eggs are our main proteins, with fish coming in next. We eat hardly any red meat.
post #6 of 6
Honestly, it depends on how you package them. And seriously, 50 in one day is ALOT of work, and sounds like there will be more than that to do if you are co-oping. I know this because we do rabbits (half that in one day is alot, and rabbits are way easier to do), goats, pigs, guineas, and chickens.

If you cut up your chickens, you can fit more in the freezer. I would cut them up and vacuum seal the parts. Soup bones can go in big ziplocs.

One time a university ag dept. had 500 chickens for a project. When the project was over, they offered the chickens to one of the professors. He called my BIL and they butchered them all. Took 6 weekends, dawn til dusk to complete the task. There were only 4 people working, though.
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