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A Day of Killing – Putting Food on the Homestead Table

A Day of Killing – Putting Food on the Homestead Table

A Day of Killing

Sunday was a day of killing. Like last weekend, we killed and butchered birds we raised to feed us. Last weekend it was the Cornish Cross chickens. Yesterday we processed the broad breasted white turkeys, two older roosters, and a drake Khaki Campbell x Fawn and White Indian Runner duck. We intentionally raise turkeys for meat. The older roosters are from the first Buff Bantam Silkies that started our flock. They were older, four and a half years old, with spurs that curled completely around and started the circle again, this time starting to embed themselves in flesh.  There’s a new rooster, hatched in the spring, that takes their place. Extra males serve no purpose other than meat.

That’s a lot of turkey!

Thanksgiving, the largest of the turkeys, will be the guest of honor on Thanksgiving. Kristin, Taylor and Dad each get a turkey, and that leaves three for us. One will be frozen whole, one in pieces, and one ground for sausage. I have five backs to make soup from, something that excites me. I can’t wait to share the how-t0 and why with you. As soon as we’re ready to eat turkey after yesterday’s events, soup will be the first meal I’ll make.

An Unpleasant Day

It was an unpleasant day. Thanksgiving, also known as You Jerk, was overly friendly. He was pushy and unusually curious even for a turkey. Without hands, birds have few resources for exploring items. Thanksgiving liked to check things out up close and with his beak, and sometimes he hurt me. I won’t miss having a spot of dirt on my butt being pecked hard by a turkey I didn’t know was behind me. At the same time, I’m not happy he’s dead. We provide our meat in specific ways out of respect for the animals and their lives. We respect them whether we like their personality or not.

Vague Details of the Process

We work together efficiently on a day of killing after 15 years and hundreds of turkeys. We disinfect coolers and fill them full of cold well water. Steve lugs 20 gallons of hot water to the high tunnel where we do the butchering and puts half of it in the lobster pot over the propane burner. When the water is 145° he kills the first bird, dips it and we pluck together. When the wing feathers that hurt my arthritic hands are out he goes for the next bird while I do the fine plucking of tiny feathers.
a day of killing, plucking a turkey
a day of killing, pin feathers, turkey, broad breasted whiteWhile I finish plucking the second bird he guts the first. While he guts the second I wash the first and put it in cold water to chill. I tend to the second bird while he gets and kills bird three. And the cycle starts again.

Half way through he takes a break to give his back a rest (tall man, low table) while I clean the table. I give my back a break while he goes for the next bird, kills it, lets it bleed out, and dips it. Then we start together again. It’s important to iron out the details and work peacefully on a day of killing.


The majority of my part in this process happens today. I do all of the packaging. Whole turkeys are wrapped in plastic wrap first and frozen in heavy plastic bags. I haven’t found vacuum bags large enough for 12 to 25 pound birds. The pieces are vacuum sealed to avoid freezer burn and save space in the freezers. I packaged up the five extra necks, and all of the hearts, livers and gizzards for Dad. I’ve cut and sealed one end of the vacuum bags for the backs but wasn’t sure of how large or small I need the rest. I will work off and on during the day and evening on this job. Water doesn’t shut down the sealer when the pieces are frozen; I freeze them for a few hours first.

Five months of work ends in three hours of killing and butchering and a few hours of packaging. It’s a lot of work but it’s well worth the effort. Healthy turkeys raised on pasture, in and out of shelter as they want during the day and closed in for their safety at night. They live a good life.

What Does it Feel Like to Kill a Chicken?

What Does it Feel Like to Kill a Chicken?

What Does it Feel Like to Kill a Chicken?

“What does it feel like to kill a chicken,” she asked. It’s been a deathly day, starting with two mice in a bucket in the garden shed. They couldn’t get out and made for a good opportunity to teach Zoey more about rodent killing. She’s a great huntress but not a good killer. A red squirrel made it into the house and onto the kill list today. Not sure I’ll get it today but the peanut butter bait is set (outside!) and the pellet gun is loaded and waiting.

What does it feel like to kill a chicken. I had to think about it. I don’t do it often, avoiding it when possible. Yes, I can, but if Steve is here when one is mortally injured, or it’s time to kill meat chickens, he does it. Today, he’s not here and the chicken couldn’t be allowed to suffer.

Chopping Block

The old chopping block is gone. I found two tall screws and a hammer and set up the block. When the screws were an inch and a half apart and the cover was off the hatchet, I went for the chicken. What does it feel like to kill a chicken…

what does it feel like to kill a chicken, chopping block

He wheezed, its comb no longer the bright blood red it should have been because of oxygen deprivation. Each breath was a struggle. Breath in, sides heaving, wheeze out. Was that a drop of liquid in its beak? The bird had pneumonia. Still fit to eat, today had to be the day for its sake and ours.

I tucked him under my left arm and thanked him for feeding us. This bird didn’t “give its life to feed us.” It didn’t give us its life. I took its life. I killed it. So bird, thank you for feeding us. I am indeed sorry it didn’t live two more weeks like the others will. Well, all but one other. It’s wheezing a little and probably won’t get better.

what does it feel like to kill a chicken, pneumonia, cornish cross

Tucked under my arm and thanked, I kept the Cornish Cross rooster calm. Its feet gently but firmly grasped by my left hand so it couldn’t scratch me if it decided to try to escape, it felt secure. I bent to pick up the hatchet while hanging the rooster upside down by its legs. Flap flap flap…three times, and then it calmly hung upside down, trusting me because I’ve been feeding and watering and tending it since it was three days old. This chicken had no thoughts of “I’m going to die.”

The Chop

I laid the breast, neck and head of the bird across the log, wedging its head between the screws to keep it secure. What does it feel like to kill a chicken, I thought as I raised the hatchet, pulled gently back on the bird’s legs to stretch its neck out straight, lined up the hatchet to land a half-inch behind the screws, closed my eyes and dropped my arm in a fast, hard swoop. With the thump of the hatchet hitting the log a split second later I opened my eyes to see what I’ve done, to be sure I’ve killed the bird instantly.

No suffering. I held the bird until the flapping stopped, maybe six or seven flaps, and watched blood pour from its neck. No suffering. When it was still and the blood stopped pouring, I laid the bird out on the log.

what does it feel like to kill a chicken, chopping block, blood

what does it feel like to kill a chicken, chicken chopping block

Killing a chicken feels like something I can’t over think. If I think about the steps of what I’m about to do I will talk myself out of it. It feels necessary but still heavy on my heart. It feels like a burden on my mind. There’s a sense of control when the bird is firmly in my left hand. A swift downward swing, as though I am swatting hard at a fly, followed by an immediate thump when the blade severs the head and then hits the log. Motion in my left arm as I’m holding the flapping bird, but it’s not heavy. The five pound bird feels light because I’ve lifted and thrown three cords of firewood – twice – and have strong arm muscles.


Mindful. It feels mindful, intentional and deliberate. It’s a burden. And then it’s over and it feels like relief. The bird isn’t suffering in life and didn’t suffer in death.

We don’t normally eat chicken for a couple of weeks after slaughtering day but this is different. I already have a chicken out of the freezer and fully thawed for tonight’s supper, and I will eat it. These chickens that we raise have great lives on pasture, grass and garden. They eat bugs and weed seeds, grass and clover, and take dust baths. These birds see the sun, the full moon, and the rain. They feel the wind blowing. If we didn’t raise these birds to eat they wouldn’t have a life at all. It feels like I’ve given them a good life and a swift, painless death, and it feels good to feel my family humanely.


Routine Change – Freezing Cold Nights

Routine Change – Freezing Cold Nights

 Routine Change

Routine change seems to happen quickly even though fall creeps in slowly, particularly this year. Last week we had daytime temperatures in the high 70’s and nighttime temps in the low 50’s. This morning the hose was frozen because the temp dipped into the high 20’s. At 10 am the water trickled through enough to get the thawing process started. Routine change: drain the hose during evening chores and make sure it’s stretched out where the morning sun will find it earliest.

Moving the Chicken Tractor

Every morning I let the Cornish Cross meat chickens out of the tractor to run for the day. I bring them a little corn to help them warm up quickly. Every evening I move the tractor onto clean grass or soil, move their five gallon waterer into the tractor, and wait for them to go in for the night. Routine change: As of today I’m moving the tractor in the morning and leaving the tarp over it so the sun can warm the ground during the day, giving them a warmer spot to sleep at night.

Building a Fire

checked firewood, routine change, dry firewoodMost mornings I’m up early, start the coffee, get the kindling and firewood, build a fire and get my shower while the coffee finishes. I dress by the fire that’s still catching, barely enough warmth to start the groan and pop of the heating metal. Routine change: Bring in the kindling and firewood after evening chores. Build the fire first thing in the morning, then start the coffee. Coffee takes a few minutes to make because we grind beans each time we make a pot. The spent grounds are stored to be scattered in the herb garden. Building the fire first won’t make a huge difference but it’s a few extra minutes for the heat to build.

I’m looking forward to days inside later this week, watching the rain fall while sitting by the fire, working without interruption, writing writing writing for something other than a paycheck. I’ll roast a chicken with potatoes, carrots and onions on an open fire by the pond on Wednesday and then use the leftover chicken for chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, fajitas and a soup.

Coyote Problem

routine change, coyote, meat chickens, cornish cross, A coyote has been hanging out here for more than a week. One came through in April and July. A youngster very much attached to our back porch, backyard and orchard, visits nightly for the past week. It arrives a little earlier each night, just after Steve turned off the noisy saw and came in last night.

We can’t night hunt again until mid-December but if I catch it in the act of bothering the meat chickens, well, it’s days are over. The cold nights seem to have spurred its desire to hunt here. The deer haven’t been around since the coyote showed up. I will feel bad for ending its life. It’s not an animal I’ll eat and I won’t tan its hide. I really don’t know what I’ll do with it; it’s been quite a while since we’ve had to kill one. I hope it takes on a routine change before it’s too late.

And speaking of killing. <sigh> One of the meat chickens, a hen, is mostly likely developing pneumonia. We’re in wait-to-see mode. We have two choices. Treat her with antibiotics or slaughter soon. We’re two or three weeks away from processing all of the meat chickens. We don’t want antibiotics in our food when we have a strong alternative. She’s fryer size now, certainly large enough to provide three meals for the two of us. I’ll see how she is in the morning. I’m ready for the poultry routine to change, for them to move on to the freezer. It’s chilly during the day, cold at night, and sometimes so windy I have to tack down the tarp covering the entire tractor at night. It’s not good meat-raising weather now as it takes more food to keep themselves warm as well as grow.

Are you going through a routine change as autumn progresses?

Is Save


Winter Preparations – Working Toward a Comfortable Winter

Winter Preparations – Working Toward a Comfortable Winter

Winter Preparations

Winter preparations have started. It feels like we must be far behind because here it is early October and we haven’t touched a stick of firewood. Steve dropped a few big trees in the new food plot over the summer, and he dragged them to the field between the high tunnels, but there they sit. He cut and I split and stacked this winter’s firewood last year. I thought I’d do next year’s this year but the majority of it is going to wait until spring. Using the empty high tunnel to dry and store firewood has been one of the best things we’ve done here. It’s warm, the air flows well and the wood dries fast.

What’s on the winter prep list?

  • Move firewood
  • Split firewood for winter 17/18
  • Harvest a deer or two
  • Process the meat chickens and one duck in early November
  • Process the turkeys the weekend before Thanksgiving (or sooner if the jerks won’t say in their pen)
  • Cover the basement windows with insulation
  • Frame the new raised beds in the high tunnel
  • Move the topsoil I decided to hold off on (horrid weed problem) into the new raised beds
  • Muck the hen house
  • Cover the hen house windows with poly

There’s a bear in the freezer now, lots of preserves put up, veggies, mushrooms and fruits frozen, and herbs and hot peppers dehydrated.


Out of everything on the list I like firewood the best. This is this winter’s wood. It was cut, split and stacked to dry in the high tunnel last year. It’s lightweight now and won’t take a lot of effort to move five cords into the wood shed, onto the back porch, and fill the rack in the living room. There’s something about the mindless repetition of firewood that appeals to me. Pick it up, put it on the splitter, pull the lever to split the wood, wait, grab the top piece with one hand and flip the bottom piece with the other hand, pull the lever, wait, let the split wood drop, drop the top piece onto the cold metal frame, pull the lever, throw those two pieces into the stack. Mindless but mindful at the same time. One wrong move can send me to the ER (once) or the doctor (once). Being careful and mindful while letting my mind wander is a good thing. I get a lot of damned good writing done in my head while I’m splitting firewood that unfortunately usually doesn’t make it to paper or laptop before it’s mostly forgotten.

winter preparations, firewood, high tunnel


As much as I won’t enjoy slaughtering and butchering the chickens and turkeys, I’m ready for it. They’ve lived good lives on grass and soil, taking dust baths under the sun on 70° October days, eating grasshoppers and weed seeds. The turkeys have learned how to trample down the side of their electronet fence and are wandering all over the place. I sent a pic of seven wandering turkeys and a text to Steve that said “they better taste good” this afternoon. I used the tractor’s bucket and a chain to move the hog panels, and I’ll put them back up near the hen house. That will keep them contained…unless they realize they can fly over, and then I’ll clip their wings. I don’t remember turkeys ever being such a pain as these seven, not even when we had 25 or more at a time.

winter preparations, English Shepherd, broad breasted white turkeysThe meat chickens are manure machines that fertilize the lawn and part of the garden, their tractor having to be moved daily even if they’re in it only overnight. They’re going to continue to live good lives until early November for the chickens and the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the turkeys.

Propane was delivered this week. We have a small hot air, propane fired furnace in the basement for back up when we’re not at home to fill the wood stove, or like this fall when it’s really too warm for a fire but too cool to not have some sort of heat. We’re used to $600 a year for propane to heat our hot water and occasionally run that furnace. The bill today was $115 for two months. That can’t happen again in October. That’s craziness.

Winter Preparations?

I’m more physically prepared for winter than I am mentally. I want it to stay just like the last three days – warm and dry, sunny and breezy, cold enough in the morning for a fire that burns hot and fast for an hour to take out the chill – for the next 364 days…or until I decide I want it to be colder. The new moon and clear sky of autumn are incredible. The gazillion stars at night are stunning. The constellations are easy to see on these gorgeous nights. Winter preparations are time and work well spent while I spend these gorgeous autumn days outdoors.


Homesteading Today – September 29, 2016

Homesteading Today – September 29, 2016

Homesteading Today – September 29

There are a million things to do in this house – scrub the toilet, lug ripped out wallboard from the bedroom to trash bins outside, vacuum and wash floors, back screws out of 2 x 4’s – and little of it will get done. I’ll deal with the screws and wallboard, the rest will wait. It’s too nice outside to be indoors. I thought I’d bring you with me through homesteading today.

The Poultry Shuffle

The perfect music for The Poultry Shuffle was already playing when I went out this morning. A young white throated sparrow that hasn’t migrated yet tested his not-quite-perfect ability to sing. They’re one of the first birds that make my head snap in their direction in the spring and it’s nice to hear them before they leave in the fall.

The meat birds, 25 Cornish Rock Cross, need more room than their 4′ x 8′ tractor allows them. I took the smaller mesh electro-fence from the turkeys, ducks and Silkie chickens and shuffled it over to the meat birds’ area. I won’t have to move them once or twice a day now. The 160 foot long roll of fencing gives them plenty of room to eat grass, weed seeds and insects for a few days. They haven’t yet discovered the freshly tilled soil in the garden but when they do the soil will fly as they learn how easy it is to dust bathe there rather than on grass.

Silkies and Runner ducks slip through the large mess of the second fence so I have to keep an eye on them. Ava and Zoey spend most of the day outside to help deter predators. There are three raccoons hanging around but not until it starts to get dark.

(Update since I started writing: A Cooper’s hawk killed one of the meat birds while Ava was herding a wayward duck back to the pen. Bastard.)
Cornish cross, meat chicken, hawk attack

Autumn Decorating

Not one bit of autumn decorating has been done this fall. I cut the cornstalks, bundled them, and tied them to posts on the porch. Frost is weeks late this year, we haven’t had one yet. The hydrangea are a gorgeous mauve. I hope it doesn’t fade as they dry. Homesteading today is a mix of death and beauty, typical for this lifestyle.

hydrangea, homesteading today

warty gourds, homesteading today

I cut the Warty gourds, Wee Be Little pumpkins and Butternut winter squash, and cleaned up the vines. The last of the tomatoes minus a Juliet plant that’s still doing well added up to a half bushel, and those vines were cleaned up. They’re dying on the garden, waiting to be rototilled into the soil. The bushel of gourds were grown in a 30″ circle in the high tunnel. Easy peasy and worth doing again next year. The winter squash didn’t fare as well but I’ll give it another try in a tunnel next year with a few changes.

The still unidentified hot peppers and Bell peppers haven’t been pulled yet. Maybe Friday, or maybe I’ll put a low tunnel over them for a while. I want more peppers but I’m over gardening for the year. I’m ready to settle in to write, missing writing terribly, and want to be done with just about everything.

Where the Wild Things Are

The beavers are still around out back. The water is low but they’re checking the muddy dam and patting it down on a regular basis. I’m learning to love the land we own. It’s a long process that I’ll talk about later.
beaver lodge, homesteading today
beaver tracks, homesteading todayDon’t forget the young bull moose that’s pics I shared yesterday.

It feels like we’ll have frost overnight so I cut the lemon balm, sage, two varieties of basil, and oregano, and put them in the dehydrator. There’s mint still to cut but it’s frost hardy, fortunate since the dehydrator is full. Sage, thyme, basil and oregano are still growing in the high tunnel, at least until we take the poly off and cold gets to them.

To Do Lists

My list for the day was unrealistically long even if I hadn’t been dealing with the hawk. I’ll work on it again tomorrow. Such is the life. Homesteading today carries into tomorrow, into the next day, and continues on because the to list changes but never ends. I wouldn’t trade it for the lifestyle we left behind in 1989.

Poults – Young Turkeys are Low Maintenance

Poults – Young Turkeys are Low Maintenance

Poults  – Raising Turkeys

After a somewhat annoying cat ‘n mouse game with the feed store on Thursday and Friday, we brought home eight broad breasted bronze poults. One died on Sunday. It was a failure to thrive situation; didn’t eat or drink much at all and peeped constantly from the start. TIP: Ask to see each bird you buy before its put into the carrying box. If it’s smaller than the rest, refuse the bird.

Ava’s Obsession

Poults, Ava’s current obsession. She was thrilled when she heard the peeping last night. I don’t know how many times I told her to get her head out of the box. She either wants them on the floor so she can take care of them or all together in the box. Having them scattered drivers her nuts. Together. All of them. Now. She nudges them around with her nose and picks up the slow learners to move them to their “right” place. “Ava, leave them alone.” “Ava, stop pushing the box,” (she’ll push it to me so I can let her little prisoners poults out). “Ava, put it down.” She loves baby anythings, especially if they peep.

Raising turkeys from late June until the Sunday before Thanksgiving is a job that can be simple.Click To Tweet

How I Raise Poults

I don’t like to raise poults, chicks, ducklings or anything else. I believe in letting mothers do their job but in some cases, like these poults, there isn’t a mother. I have the poults in a pen inside a chicken tractor. I moved Sweetie and the Sweetsketeers into the tractor this morning, and then parked the poults right beside the pen. I want Sweetie to hear the peeping and yearn to adopt them. Or at least accept them. I’m not that fussy and it doesn’t have to be love. Just please, Sweetie, raise them so I don’t have to.

Ava “helped.” She tipped the box over to let them out but she tipped it in the wrong direction. Then she pointed to the cage with her nose, then pointed at the poults, them the cage, then the poults. “You little baby turkeys, go into that cage.” If she could talk that’s exactly what she’d say. I’d like to tell you that I patiently waited for the poults to make their way onto the grass, one by one, letting them take their time and get comfortable in their first experience on the ground. I wasn’t. After snapping two photos I tipped them out and unceremoniously closed the door.

Sweetie couldn’t care less about the peeping. Her chicks are 12 days old and they’re bonded. The poults are outsiders. Outsiders…right…they were outside the tractor. I moved their cage into the tractor so they’re at least closer, and I hope she’ll warm up to them.

Keeping Poults Warm

The poults were three days old when we picked them up so the only feathers they have are on their wing tips. They can’t keep themselves warm. I don’t like heat lamps in a box of young birds, a barn or a hen house. They cause fires, animals suffer and barns are lost. I put a throw rug or towel on the floor, a heat mat used to start seedlings on top of that, then the cardboard box on the heat mat. When they go outside they’re out in the sun after the grass dries.

They have a dish of food and a waterer. That’s all they need. Food, water, warmth. Keep this simple. I have them for the next 21-22 weeks and don’t have time to make them complicated or time consuming.

What Do Poults Eat?

When the poults are in for the night they get a little bit of commercial food. It’s a high protein crumble that supports their fast growth. Outside, they eat grass and other plants, weed seeds and insects.

poults, English shepherd
Here little baby turkeys, I will let you out of the box!
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, chocolate lab, turkey poult, poults
Oh this can’t be good… Mom said, “Zoey, don’t touch” but I want to.

poults, grassfed, how to raise turkeys

Ava and I realized putting the cage in the tractor was a better idea. “Ava, get out.” She came out, turned a circle and went back in because this is her current obsession.

poults, chicken tractor, Silkie chicken, silkie chicks
I will love them and hug them and drool on them…

Tonight the poults will be in the house on a heating pad and Sweetie and the Sweetsketeers will be locked in the carrier with a bed of straw, and closed inside the tractor or hen house to keep them safe. I’m always relieved when the chicks can join the flock inside the hen house. So that’s how I raise poults on their first day on the homestead.


Meat Chickens Myths – Raising Meat

Meat Chickens Myths – Raising Meat

Meat Chickens Myths

I’m getting ready to place the meat chicken order, 30 Cornish-Rock broilers. They’re a cross of two breeds – Cornish and Rock. There’s so much misinformation passed on as fact that people shy away from raising them. And just as bad, they perpetuate the misinformation by repeating it over and over and over. We really need to do better when it comes to this aspect of food. Meat chickens aren’t lazy or dirty unless they’re provided the means to be so, and then you need to make a few changes in your methods raising them. I can help you with that.

Myth #1: You have to teach chicks how to eat and drink.

Don’t underestimate instinct and curiosity. They’ll peck at food and water. Give them 60 seconds and they’ll have it figured out.

You’re going to have these birds at least six weeks, maybe ten or 12. Don’t make more work for yourself than necessary. Trust instinct. Instinct and curiosity will lead them to scratch, chase bugs, and eat natural foods.

Meat Chicken Myths: Maybe you're not doing it right. Dirty, lazy or having health problems? Read these tips. Click To Tweets

Myth #2: Meat chickens are genetically engineered.

Go back to the name. Cornish Rock Cross. They’re a hybrid, a cross between two breeds. If you cross a beagle with a husky you get a hybrid, not a genetically engineered dog, right? Same thing.

Meat chickens, English shepherd, pastured chickens, how to raise meat chickensMyth #3: Meat chickens are dirty.

Do you feed your dog or cat in a small, confined area where it also poops, never letting it move to clean space? Of course not, right? So why would you do that to your chickens (or anything else)? Raise them in a clean, dry space with enough room to run around. If they are dirty you’re not doing it right. You need to move them more often and/or give them more room if they dirty.

I move the chicken tractor once a day for the first two or three weeks, twice a day after that.

Myth #4: Meat chickens do nothing but lay around, eating and pooping.

Partially, kind of, could be true, but you can do better for the birds. They’ll lay around and do nothing but eat if you allow it. They can’t eat commercial food you don’t give them so don’t over feed. I give my meat chickens commercial food only in the morning and evening. They spend the rest of the day on grass or in an unused section of the garden chasing insects, eating weeds and weed seeds, and taking dust baths, just like non-meat breeds. They’ll run around to find food if they’re hungry. If they’re picking at eat other or not growing they’re probably not finding enough to eat. They will behave like chickens if you allow them to. They aren’t fat when we butcher. They’re slower growing without the excess commercial food so I keep them an extra week to make up the difference.

Our electro net fence is 160 feet long. I move that around every two or three days if necessary for 25-30 chickens.

Myth #5: Mortality is high because they have leg problems and heart attacks.

So do we if we eat too much and don’t move. See #4. Space to roam, natural food, exercise, just like us. We lose maybe .25% to leg problems and have never lost one to heart attack. Keep them up and moving for food and acting like chickens and you’ll minimize problems.

Myth #6: Meat chickens are injected with hormones.

They’re not. Hormones were tried for a short period of time decades ago. Hormones don’t make poultry grow faster so it was discontinued. It’s illegal to give hormones to chickens and turkeys. If a producer is using “hormone free” on its label or advertising it’s trying to take advantage of a lack of knowledge. I don’t see that as often anymore because consumers called producers like Tyson out on the label.

Meat chickens are easy, clean, healthy, fast growing but not unhealthy, and when fed a mostly or all natural diet they’re delicious to eat. If you don’t have pasture, grass or empty garden space for the birds you can still move them around in a tractor, feed them commercial food, and have better tasting, better raised chicken.