Elaine and I started reading about what actually goes into our meat today, no matter what store you buy it from or which farm you get it from (unless you are really lucky). We started reading about children becoming fully sexually developed at age 7 to 9 years, and thought "this cannot be good for you no matter how old you are."
The lord was gracious and obtained 10 acres for us in the country that enabled us to consider raising some fowl. I had the time on my hands as I was semi-retired. So the learning curve began. It was more work than I figured, but also very satisfying, and at times very humourous. There is something about chickens learning to crow, and turkeys learning to gobble that just gets the smile muscles working. It's something like our neighbour that raises miniature donkeys. When I asked him why? He responded " What do you do when you see them?" That is their purpose.. to make you smile.
Cost wise I am sure it's cheaper to go to the big box store and buy some hormone injected, antibiotic laced meat, but we prefer not to do so. Our feed is organic in nature, no carcasses, or body parts in it.
We raised the Cornish Giant chickens the first year, and both of us said "Never again". They grew so fast they couldn't walk 2 feet without laying down. They were also prone to heart attacks and a condition called cocciadosis. I am not sure I spelled that right, but their body cavity would fill with fluid and they would suffocate! These are the birds that are normally raised in a 12" X 12" cage. We may raise birds for meat, but we also believe in giving them a humane life with room to be a chicken or turkey.
The 10 original hens (the laying type, Rhode Island Reds), produced over 2000 eggs the first year. Obviously, we didn't eat that many eggs, but the sale of the surplus offset the cost of feed somewhat, but not entirely.
Side benefits include educating the grandkids about farming, and also a few other city folks. Fresh eggs taste much, much better than store bought. We also donated farm fresh eggs to some needy folks. It also kept me out of trouble, according to Elaine.
The future path that we are starting down is acquiring Heritage birds, that can reproduce naturally, and try to preserve a few lines. So far we have Wyandottes, both Gold and Silver laced, and hope to acquire a couple of other types in the spring. I am hoping to obtain some heritage type turkeys also, although the white ones have been great. I've got all winter to find a source.
The pictures show the progression over 27 weeks.