Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cornish Cross Chickens

This year we raised some Cornish Cross chickens for the first time.

If I had known how easy they were to pluck, we would have raised them a long time ago. Evidently ease of feather removal was part of the breeding selection. They never did get a lot of feathers on the breast, and the ground was always littered with them as if they were molting.

The same day I bought the Cornish, I also brought home a few Partridge Cochin chicks for my home flock. With the two types being raised side by side it was amazing to see the growth difference. In just the first week the Cornish Cross grew to be twice the size of the Cochins. Also the behavioral difference of the Cornish was surprising.

The Cornish chicks were a lazy bunch spending a good bit of the time stretched out on their side resting. It scared me the first time I saw them because I thought they had all died. They didn’t waste much energy walking and scratching around. The only time they hustled at all was when their food dish was being refilled.

Once they had feathered out, they were moved outside on grass in a moveable round fence. This also slowed down their growth enough so their legs weren’t compromised. At 8 weeks we butchered the largest half of the group and they dressed out just over 4 pounds. The rest were done 2 weeks later and they dressed out 5.5+ pounds apiece.

They are tender, tastier, and have more meat than the store bought ones. We will definitely be raising these again in the future.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So far we are 12 inches over our average rainfall for the year. This is a good thing since we have been in some sort of drought status since I have lived in this area. My ponds are topped off, and pastures have grown so high I can not see the goats when they are standing in the fields. Sure made it harder to get chores done when it was coming down though.

Goats don’t like to get wet, walk thru puddles or mud. So if we were in the middle of a downpour, or just a drizzle for that matter, I do twice as much walking. The only way to get them from their shelters to the barn for milking and back again, is to personally escort them. Some of them wait till I’m coming thru the paddock gate, then they make a run from the shelter to the gate. Most will wait for me to come to the shelter and reach for their collar before bolting to the barn.

Then there is Leala, a first freshener this year, who took to the milk stand like a champ. There was no rocking, dancing, or kicking. She just jumps up, plants her feet, and squats that back end forward just enough so that you can milk her out easily. But Leala wants nothing to do with getting wet. By the time it’s her turn to be milked, she has worked her way to the back of the group hiding, and unlike the others, won’t come forward when I call her name. This means I have to make my way through the group bent over, with each goat between me and her not wanting to move out of the spot they have chosen. Once I reach her and have her collar, she does what she does on the milk stand…plants those feet & drops that rear end down. As she is getting dragged to the front of the shelter, each goat she passes gives her a butt as if to let her know the extra commotion she has created..

Once outside the wet, slick ground makes dragging her along a bit easier and when we finally reach the barn she is eager to come in to get on the stand. After milking she is somewhat better at going back to the shelter-I only have to drag from the barn to the gate of the paddock. Once she is thru the gate, Leala then dashes for the shelter saving me a few steps and standing there out of breath.