Sunday, 28 September 2008

Death at the weekend

It's harvest time. The number of surplus cockerels raised for meat is being diminished by twos each weekend. The Aylesbury drakes are fattening nicely and it'll be their turn soon. This week two of the pigs are off to the butcher. The remaining three Berkshires are booked in as are the second batch of lambs.
The freezers will judder into life and host a year's supply of meat and poultry, and the horrendous livestock feed bills will be cut dramatically. Poultry feed has jumped from £6.50 per 25k to £8.50 in less than six months. How organic farmers make any kind of living with their feed at Harrods prices, is beyond me.
We've heard a great deal this year about poultry farming and the real price of properly raised chicken. I suspect all the good awareness raising will be mowed down in the face of job losses, house repossessions and the general gloom of depression.
What I do know, is that my dressed weight 3.5 lb - 4lb cockerel tastes amazing, and that not even the poshest organic shop-bought bird can start to compare. Why this is, I don't know, but my birds head towards the guinea fowl in flavour (which I adore), have a density of meat that is really satisfying, and that every single scrap (excepting heads, feet, and colon) will be eaten.


paula said...

That photo - it has the makings of some dark, satanic ritual! I mean…those headdresses?**))
I more than agree with you about taste...

Winchester whisperer said...

What about the feathers - do you sell them off for headdresses?

mountainear said...

We hope, when the new hen-house is finished, to rear a few birds for the table ourselves.

I had visions of running them completely free range but our local farmer advise that I should keep them fairly confined for most of the time. Do you have a view on this?

FrauKlug said...

At our local farmers market I came across $20.oo frying hens, plucked, cleaned, wrapped. Lovely looking, and raised in an ethical way, but $20.oo or more for a chicken? I knew feed prices had gone sky high, but wow! I want to support our local free range farms, but I just can't afford it.

Arcadian Advocate said...

We have lambs and pigs going this week, all pre-sold.

Properly raised meat of any species, with a good supply chain through a small abattoir and good butcher produces meat that is beyond compare.

I sincerely hope the message about genuinely good food is not lost in the financial turmoil, as the small farm retailing businesses need continous growth to be able to rear and sell top class meat.

Mopsa said...

Paula - I know - those feathered capes are incredible.

WW - I'm thinking of taking up voodoo.

M'ear - unless you have full sight of the birds all day, they are simply fodder for foxes, who are happy to take mid afternoon or any time once they know a happy food supply is laid on. We use electrified netting - 50 metres creates a good sized free rangey space.

Frauklug - it's a real dilemma; those prices do reflect the true cost. I'm very lucky that I have the opportunity to rear my own.

AA - pre-sold is good, in fact it's great! And that takes a lot of time and effort.