this recent post on the soulemama blog has me revisiting the idea of raising chickens to provide food--not only eggs, but meat as well. having just paid $22 for a 4.75 pound pastured chicken, i can tell you that while we eat good meat, we don't eat too much of it. that chicken will likely provide protein for 2 dinners and one small lunch, with the addition of the carcass which is now simmering away on the stove (yielding around 10-12 cups of broth for soup).
earlier in the year, we brought home 5 baby chicks. my original intent was to try our hand at chick-raising (we'd only ever bought "teenaged" chickens before that). if all went well, we would raise another batch of chicks specifically for food.
in all, i can only say it was a true learning experience. having lost 3 of the 5 babies to predators, we've come away with some insight on just how vulnerable an 8 or 10 week old chicken is, as compared to the rest of our flock, which runs around the yard daily without incident.
it's time to start thinking about getting another batch of birds. first and foremost, of course, i've got to learn how to properly cull and clean a chicken. thankfully i've got a friend of a friend who does this professionally and is willing to share his secrets when i'm ready. then comes the hard part, i guess. the darker side of "urban homesteading" that is met with gasps of disgust and the question of, "why would you possibly want to do that?"
i think the better question is "why would you want to buy a foster farms chicken from the grocery store," but i guess that's just where i am at this point in the journey. more to come as it all unfolds!
in much lighter news, we're off for a mini vacation--camping in the redwoods. having never done cool-season camping, i'm positive i've overpacked on blankets, sleepsacks, outerwear and the like. the kids will probably be sweating as though it were 110 degrees outside. ha. stay tuned for photos!