Cead Mile Failte !

A 'hundred thousand welcomes' to friends of all things Irish, organic, and environmentally friendly. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and little vignettes. I appreciate comments. If you like it, why not become a follower? Click on Archive and then scroll down to the very bottom for the beginning of our story. Or see: http://Ioncehadafarminireland.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 26, 2010

Raising broilers

We got our first little chicks (broilers, actually) that summer. I collected 24 of these cute yellow fur balls in a cardboard box from a farmer in our family car. Their chirping and pungent smell --in spite of their miniature size-- quickly filled the jeep. My kids and 2 of the neighbor's ones we had taken with us for the ride where delighted.
We had built another little hut according to Seymour's specifications. No caged chickens for us! The chicken farms in the neighborhood of my parents home in northern Germany, huge commercial enterprises with thousands of animals that never saw the light of day still make my stomach revolt. It was their stench to be specific. It lay like a smelly blanket over miles of agricultural land and one gave a sigh of relief on leaving that area. Chicken slurry smells just as bad as pig's. That beside the idea of their caged, imprisoned existence put me of eggs and chicken meat for years.
The fur balls turn their color quickly into white when they grow up and develop white feathers.
It posed an immense problem to feed them. The Creamery where we (and other farmers) bought our feeds, only had the usual starter feeds. Enhanced with all the goodies that an organic farmer objects to: grains enhanced with growth promoters to kick start them and medicines for good measure because they normally fall sick early when in confined accommodation. Antibiotics, primarily. We opted for pure maize, unadulterated with any dubious extras, barley and wheat grains all of which we had to crush by hand or an old coffee grinder to make them small enough for the only day-olds.
Every turkey or chicken that you buy that hasn't earned the label organic will have got started on the above mentioned extras. They also fed on grass and the occasional salad leaf, free to roam our garden. They thrived just fine until we slaughtered them for our own consumption when it turned too cold for them.
Our zoo now consisted of 4 lambs, 4 calves, a cat, a dog and 24 broilers as well as a dozen of pullets.

1 comment:

  1. Very hard to get listed as organic in Ireland at the moment, your methods get a serious going through.
    ITA with you on the chickens, they smell bad