Too Many Feathers
Yesterday I finished processing the last two meat chickens of a batch of ten that I have raised.
I won't be doing that again!
As I was plucking and cleaning (not to mention lopping off the head) it struck me just how much work there is in growing and processing my own poultry. It is not a very pleasant task either.
Having grown up in a rural area I had processed plenty of chooks (Australian for chicken), in my youth, so the process was not new to me, but I have to admit....I had forgotten just how "un-nice" the process is. Comparing it to Aquaponics, growing and harvesting my own fish, my vote is firmly for the fish. So much easier to simply dive a net into the tank, retrieve one or two plate sized fish and process them. From getting the net, right through to sitting down to a delightful fish dinner, is less than one hour.
How easy is that?
The process is easier, cleaner and much more efficient.
Work; It took much more effort to deliver a kilo of home grown chicken to my table than to get a kilo of fish on the plate. Delivering feed and water to the chickens every day, finding suitable green feed and putting up with their noise.
Expense; Chicken meal is expensive these days. By my calculations the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) for my batch of chickens was 3.5 to 1.0 In other words it took 3.5 Kg of feed to produce 1.0 Kg of chicken. By contrast my Jade Perch have a FCR of around 1.5 to 1.0, more than twice as efficient in converting feed to bodyweight.
The chickens took 14 weeks to grow out, my fish take approx one year, so the fish take a lot longer but that is ok. That can be taken care of by having enough fish on the go to ensure a constant supply of fish dinners.
In a commercial Aquaponics farm setting, the fish costs less to produce per kilo and sells for a higher price per kilo, so it is a good deal from all perspectives.
For long term sustainability fish win the contest no risk.
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Posted By Murray Hallam on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 05:11:28
Updated : Wednesday 5th June 2019 @ 14:50:14 | Words : 424 | Views : 48 | Comments : 8
One is now living dangerously....she has stopped laying the one a day !!
Posted By Murray on Sunday 17th February 2013 @ 07:49:26
I have some girls as well and agree, im happy to harvest t he fish but if anyone touches mt girls, watch out ;) I love eating chicken however - not mine :)
Posted By Erich on Saturday 9th February 2013 @ 01:08:50
It is a good idea to raise rabbits, but the killing and processing is a different matter that is for sure. (have never eaten rabbit myself)
Posted By Murray on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 18:26:40
Thanks for your comment Omar,
You make good points re the free range chickens. I have some egg producing chickens....just two and they lay two eggs every day without fail....wonderful little girls they are.
Posted By Murray on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 18:24:44
While Andy and I were processing the last two chooks we concluded that if a person is not willing to do this part, ie, killing and plucking and so on, then perhaps they should not eat chicken!!
Posted By Murray on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 18:20:47
I also raised some meat chickens this year in order to eat more clean organic food and I will never do it again, in fact it gave me a new respect for chickens and I don't even want to eat them at all. I agree the fish are easier and better.
Posted By Janet Little on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 17:08:23
It's for that very reason that free range chicken is better than chicken run...my late grandfather used to rear more than a hundred chicken at his orchard without need for giving them regular chicken feed (only when he felt generous or luring them out to catch some for cooking), they look for better foods that they like and enjoy (same like us too)...also they interbred with jungle chicken so they have firmer better tasting flesh though they are vicious little chicken...still remember the nightmares from crawling inside the coop to catch them...you'll never compare chicken with cowardice ever again...
Also not to mention that there's a niche market where people pay premium price for interbred chicken (in my country at least) and also the eggs too, much more expensive than normal chicken eggs...other pros is that chicken and other free range birds like goose or ducks help protects us from dangerous bugs like centipede and scorpion...not sure why but they find them quite a delicacy...in addition from my experience, geese seems to eat grasses too so the lawn is fairly neat without need to mow...
Focusing on chicken alone, they remove pest insects from plants and even get rid of termites which is a serious problem in country like ours with laterite soil...also they scratch the soil in way like tilling it and chicken poo is one of the best organic fertilizer around which is commonly used for chili plantation... we slaughter and process chicken for our own needs and buyers would buy bring them to main market and process them there so we get fresh chicken everyday at the wet market...
So in a contest with our method or orchard farming, chicken still is the superior choice...no need for constant feed or no feeding at all, better meat and eggs that fetch very premium price which I need to stress they are highly prized in our country for it's exotic and healthy food properties and they breed like crazy all on their own...just let them run free...
Well that's what we practice integrating poultry birds with farming activity in a symbiosis environment...so over time not only it eliminate the costs but also added more to it's value...though comparing to aquaponics, in a jungle country like mine free ranging chicken could even thrive in urban area apart from being roadkill...not I'm against aquaponics which is a revolutionary method of farming, but we need not be too polarized to one form of practice that narrow down our perspective...
Also I think it's another reason why aquaponics is not really popular here in Malaysia, we got other symbiotic farming practices that contribute to a better yield apart from our lush landscape...though one thing I need to stress, aquaponics reduce water usage and that is really important, we got plenty of water so we waste it all the time...in way we are in a danger of facing a water crisis if we fail to prepare for the future...fresh water in the face of modern day population boom is a finite resource...
Sorry for the lengthy preach Mr. Murray Hallam...I got the same dressing down from my peers on this issue so I'd like to share some our concerns and views for a better symbiotic and nature promoting methods...similar to that issue on making our own seeds your brought forwards...none of us here in the land of plenty ever thought of it to be a serious consideration...
Posted By Omar on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 12:59:24
I grew out some meat rabbits with a plan to have a pie or two at the end, my son has got a bit too attached to them so they are still alive. I have had to dispatch a few chickens and it's not nice.
Posted By Jon King on Friday 8th February 2013 @ 11:38:40
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