Raising chickens for meat is a homesteading tradition that has gone back many years. I have done it myself several times.
I even wrote a blog post about our meat chicken experience and what we learned from it –> Raising Meat Chickens: 5 Things I Learned The Hard Way.
There is something quant and resourceful about raising your own animals for meat. After all, you know what they eat, how much they exercise, how much space they have to roam and anything else you might want to know about your food.
But raising chickens (or any kind of meat for that matter) isn’t for everyone. So if you feel like you are being pressured by the homesteading community to raise chickens for meat, this post is for you!
5 Reasons NOT to Have Meat Chickens on Your Homestead
1. You don’t have the space for them.
If you live in an apartment, townhome or house with a small yard, meat chickens are definitely not for you. They are stinky and dirty, so you need to give them a little space away from the house to do their thing.
2. You don’t have time to take care of them.
Unlike laying hens, meat chickens take more time to care for and need more attention. Here’s why:
- They will eat constantly if you let them, so you have to regulate their food. You can’t leave extra food out for them like you can other chickens. They will eat it all as quick as possible.
- They eat more, so they poop more. You will have to clean out their coop more often than regular chickens.
- When they are almost to maturity and ready to slaughter, you may have some that get too big and die. Therefore, you need to check on them a couple of times a day so you don’t have dead chickens in with the others.
3. You don’t eat enough chicken to make it worth it.
If you are a single person or it’s just you and your spouse, you may not eat enough chicken to be worth the effort of raising your own.
If this is the case, you can support other sustainable farmers at the farmers market by buying their chickens (already butchered and prepared) when you need chicken.
4. You don’t think you can stomach butchering your own birds.
Butchering animals isn’t for everyone. I think it is a good skill to know (for when the SHTF, but it isn’t pleasant.
It is not usually cost effective to pay someone to slaughter and package chickens. By the time you do that, it would be cheaper to buy organic chicken at the store.
5. You don’t have freezer space to keep that many birds at once.
Do you only have the freezer above your refrigerator to keep all of your frozen food? That probably isn’t enough room to keep a bunch of chickens frozen as well.
If you are butchering your own meat (chickens, beef, deer, elk, etc), you need a chest freezer for that extra meat. So if freezer space is an issue, either grab a second hand freezer for your garage or rethink meat chickens.
Can you be a homesteader and not raise your own meat chickens? Absolutely, yes!
There is no perfect way to be a homesteader. You don’t have to do things the way everyone else does them.
If you want to raise meat chickens, go for it. Here is a blog post to get you started –> Raising Healthy Meat Chickens for Beginner Homesteaders.
But don’t do it if you fall into one of these 5 categories. It will just make you frustrated and anxious.
That isn’t why we become homesteaders. Homesteading is a state of mind and how it manifests in your life is up to you.
Do it your way! And enjoy the process.
Have you tried to raise meat chickens in the past? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!