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Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Hammond, Louisiana. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food.

Please follow the links in the top bar for more information on our products and their availability. Continue reading below for our blog where we detail the adventures of raisin' animals and whatnot.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Broilers and broiling


  On Sunday we processed about half of our red broilers. I have to say, of all the meat birds we have raised, I think the red broilers are my favorite. They aren't in the least aggressive. They grow at a reasonably fast rate without outgrowing their feathers or turning into fat slobs like the cornish crosses tend to, and they were have happy to go out and forage in the pasture. To top it all off, they looked great when processed with a good amount of meat on legs and chest. Unfortunately, these were hatchery birds that we just grew out. As we have mentioned before, our goal is to have a sustainable flock of meat birds that are born and bred here on the farm.
 To that end, on Monday morning, Luna and I decided to sort out the Dark Cornish and White Rocks males that are just starting to reach maturity. Our plan is to keep a rooster from each breed. We hope that crossing that Dark Cornish rooster with White Rock hens will result in fast growing, well muscled birds. We are also keeping a White Rock rooster so that we can make more of the breed in the future.

 Luna and I bravely ventured into that pen filled with about 25 crazy adolescent chickens armed with only an Xpen and a handful of colored zip ties! It was quite a struggle, but eventually we got the few roosters from each breed separated from the hens and the other layers. After that, it was a matter of picking the biggest rooster of each breed with the best temperament. The top two choices got banded, first choice in blue and second in red. Above is our first choice White Rock. For the next two weeks, we will watch these roosters to see who is the calmest, most watchful of his ladies, and who has the crow we can best live with. Let me tell you folks, not all rooster crows are created equal and right now it sounds like a prepubescent boy's choir out there with all those boys figuring out their calls. "Cock-a-doo-do-BLARGH!"


  Here is the number two Dark Cornish. I couldn't find the number one to get a picture because by the time we got finished chasing, sorting, judging, and banding all those birds in that closed pen with its metal roof, I'd nearly given myself, the dog, and half the chickens heat stroke. I banded that last rooster and looked over to see all the birds open-beaked panting with their wings held out, Luna had her tongue nearly dragging the ground, and my head felt like it was going to spin right off my shoulders. Yeah, it's hot out there. Next time I decide to chase chickens, I think I'll get up a little earlier in the morning.





5 comments:

  1. great work! and yep we've used those colored zip ties - they work really well. we bred out the foot feathers on a line of buff brahma roos and ended up with a stunning "flock sire" for our chicken herd. they dont have the breasts of the meat variety but wow they are a nicely dressed carcass and a nice fat hen. just as i read your gargling crow... the only one of my meat roos did the same thing. and you know what we say - when you start to crow, you got to go!

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    1. Yeah, we have way too many roosters out there. I see a lot of chicken stew in our futures.

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    2. If it wasn't such a bizarre procedure, I'd say we caponize some and grow out some turkey-sized chickens.

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  2. Your White Rock is beautiful, so majestic!!!

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    1. Thanks! So far he seems like a really nice rooster too. He waits for the ladies to eat before starting his dinner, always a good sign.

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