We raised meat birds from day old chicks last summer and it went pretty well and filled our freezer with yummy healthy meat for our family.
This year has been absolute crap on the meat bird front.
While in the brooder I had an outbreak of what I'm sure was Avain Encephalomyelitis, I've culled the worst 11 of 76 but the disease struck when the chicks should have been feathering out.
Now I have 65 half bald Cornish cross that are getting gashes on their nearly bare butts from their buddies sharp claws.
So I need to do a cull of the birds that have taken the worst of the beating.
How would you turn 'em into dog food to feed our loyal LGD?
if you don't feed them raw, look at making a huge batch of chicken soup. You can then freeze them into containers or gallon bags for easy feeding later. My grandfather did it that way when culling the roosters, he would cut their necks, collect the blood for the animals (dogs/pigs) then scald, eviscerate and then into the apple chopper hung over a 55 gallon drum, that was placed over the fire. He would also add in vegetables/scraps from the garden too like corn/potatoes etc. Good times...
First, brooder problems happen. Determining the problem and fixing it is important to success. The Cornish are essentially race cars, fill them with what ever gas, park them on the lawn and don't change the oil and they will fail. Plain as that.
Second, they don't have many feathers to begin with. If your birds are gashing each other I would recommend increasing feeder space. 4" per bird. They're little fatties and they need some space.
As for feeding scarred birds to the dogs, I say Why!?! I'm sure you've put a lot of time and effort, not to mention money into those birds. That's some expensive $$ dog food! Learn how to bone out a chicken, and do that when you process. A scarred back doesn't look nice, but those breasts, (boneless, skinless or bone in) are still good. Not to mention wings, legs and thighs, necks, backs, and giblets for making stock! Then feed the rest to the dogs.
If you've got a dog that goes after chickens, you have a dog that goes after chickens...not a guard dog. Electric fence helps. Harsh maybe... but my dog knows it and stays away. That being said, the presence of any dog deters predators.
Grind up the carcasses and feed a raw chicken mush. This really isn't necessary, but my dog for example is far less inclined to bury the mush in my garden for a later snack, than she is to bury a carcass. The only concern I'd say is if you've never fed raw food before it may cause an upset stomach. Just feed sparingly I guess. Also, the raw bones are safe. Cooked, not so much unless you cook them till soft in which case I'd make sure the dog gets the broth too. Don't want to waste all the good nutrients. I've seen the ground carcasses baked into chicken cookies for dogs too.
If you take your birds to a USDA plant rather than processing them yourself, the inspector will make the call on weather its good to eat. You may get some birds back with one wing, no wings, legs missing, whatever. The rest is good. I assure you.
I have spent the last 5 years involved with and currently in charge of raising, processing, packaging, marketing, and selling anywhere between 9,000 and 14,000 broilers, with live stock guarding dogs fed solely a raw diet of mostly chicken(parts, organs, carcasses, and ground).
To sum it up, process and save what you can, feed the scraps to the dog. I realize I'm a bit late on this post. I work a lot and don't get on here much. :-/ I hope this helps.
Why feed them to the dog? I'd process them, selling what I could and putting the rest in my freezer. The only parts that would go to my dogs would be the non-human edible parts......guts, trimmings, and whatnot. I cook up slaughter waste with veggie rejects and trimmings, add some grain (brown rice, rolled barley, crimped oats, or culled potatoes/sweet potatoes from my own farm) and use that as dogfood stew. My dogs never associate that meat with a live animal.
I've worked to make a food network in my community, so I'd make an announcement that I was planning to sell homemade chicken soup, homemade chicken chili, or whatever. Either of those store well in a freezer. Then I'd use all that blemished meat for this.
I've made lamb stew and soup out of fresh dog-killed lambs and it was fabulous. People begged for more. Neighbors joked that they planned to let a few dogs loose on my farm so that I'd make more stew. Ha, ha. Good thing they were just joking.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
He repaced his skull with glass. So you can see his brain. Kinda like this tiny ad:
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