The Most Humane Way To Eat Organic, Free-Range Chicken
A letter from Marjory Wildcraft
Founder, The Grow Network
If you choose to eat chicken like me . . .
And if it’s important to you that the chicken you’re eating lived well and died in the most humane way possible . . .
. . . Then there’s little doubt:
Raising your own meat chickens is the way to go.
You make sure, in exchange for providing you with life-sustaining nutrition, your chickens live a happy life.
Many folks I know . . . maybe even you . . . already have a small backyard flock of egg laying hens for this very reason.
Once you’re familiar with the inhumane conditions of chicken factory farms, it’s difficult to casually buy a dozen eggs from your local chain grocer, ever again.
Yet many of these same folks get squeamish at the thought of culling their laying hens . . . or processing a chicken for meat.
That’s why, I decided to “lift the veil” from the entire process of raising your own meat chickens.
By raising my own flock of meat chickens, from egg to table.
And filming the entire eventful process. (Mistakes and all.)
Giving you the chance to shadow me around my rural property in Red Rock, Texas for 9 weeks . . . see how it’s done . . .
. . . And hopefully demystify the entire process for you.
So you might feel empowered to try it yourself.
Even if you swear you could NEVER slaughter a chicken yourself. (Psst . . . hint, hint . . . you might not need to.)
But more on that in a minute.
Because first, I want to let you know . . .
It’s Okay To Feel Uncertain If You’ve Never Done This Before! (It's Normal, In Fact.)
Most people feel uncertain the first time they raise meat chickens.
Because most of us are now at least one generation removed from ancestors who raised their own livestock for meat.
If you didn’t grow up learning the ropes of raising chickens for meat and eggs from a parent or grandparent who normalized it for you by giving you chores that built your skills and confidence over time . . .
(And if all you’ve known is the sanitized, pristinely packaged chicken sold by the local chain grocer . . .)
. . . It’s normal to feel apprehensive.
That’s one of the reasons I filmed “Raising Meat Chickens.”
I wanted you to see, first hand, that 98% of the entire experience of raising your own birds for meat is about the LIFE of the chicken.
See First Hand . . . How 98% Of The Experience Is About Giving Your Chickens A Great Life.
(While Saying NO to Factory Farms.)
Over the years, I’ve heard the same confession, again and again:
Thanks to documentaries like Food Inc. Cock Fight, Cowspiracy, Dirty Birds, and many others, more people than ever before are aware that chickens raised on factory farms frequently suffer terribly . . .
. . . Both in life and in death.
People tell me they don’t WANT to eat factory farmed chicken. They WANT to raise their own chickens . . . give them a great life . . . and know that they died humanely.
But they’re overcome with worry . . . fussing about the last step . . . the actual processing of the birds . . .
So absurdly, they continue to support factory farms.
Stop Fearing The Unknowns
Very little of the experience of raising meat chickens has ANYTHING to do with the actual processing of the birds.
98% of it is about giving your chickens a great life.
And that’s what I will demonstrate for you in “Raising Meat Chickens.”
For 9 weeks, you’ll follow me around my property.
From brooding pen to pasture, you’ll see how easy and rewarding it all really is.
I’ll show you everything I do!
Demystifying the entire process, by giving you a private tour of my simple daily routines.
(You’ll notice, I take a minimalist approach.)
So that you’ll see for yourself:
Raising chickens for meat doesn’t need to be complicated or hard. In fact . . .
. . . Almost everything can go WRONG, and you can still give these birds an excellent quality of life, while delivering a freezer-full of chicken to your family at the end.
Watch Me Problem Solve Through
“Worst Case Scenarios”
(Proof: If I Can Do This, You Can Too!)
I’ve been raising chickens for meat for almost two decades now.
And I swear, I’ve NEVER had as many things go wrong bringing up chicks as I did throughout the filming of this educational documentary. It was a summer to remember.
We faced extreme Texas heat . . . weird storms . . . and a predator issue that was like nothing I’ve experienced, ever before.
But I kept filming through it all.
Because I wanted you to see first-hand . . . even when EVERYTHING goes wrong:
You can still give these chickens a life far superior to factory farm life, process them humanely . . .
. . . And end up with a freezer full of organic, free-range chickens that are nutrient dense, and free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
And once I’ve walked you through the entire process, you’ll see:
Anyone with a lick of common sense can do this.
“In the 1950s, there were more than 1.5 million chicken farms in America. Today there are about 30,000. And 4 companies control 54% of the chicken we eat."
Source: Cock Fight, The Documentary
The Health Benefits of Eating Chickens Raised On Fresh Greens, Bugs & Sunshine.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating pasture-raised chicken, then you know:
Factory farm chicken simply doesn’t compare.
Not in flavor, texture, or nutrition.
And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.
Common sense tells you:
Chickens raised on fresh greens, bugs, and sunshine are going to be healthier, more nutrient-dense, and more flavorful.
Plus -- free of harmful toxins like growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides.
How could factory farm chickens be healthy?
There’s simply no comparison.
Choosing to raise your own meat chickens is not only a more humane choice.
It’s a healthier choice. For you -- and the birds.
Still Don’t Think You Could Kill A Chicken?
You’re Not Alone. Here’s What I Recommend:
Not everyone has the emotional strength required to take the life of an animal for food without it taking a psychic toll.
And that’s okay.
So here’s what I recommend:
Gather a community of friends and family. Agree to raise a flock of meat chickens together. (Consider watching this film together, to prepare.)
And then process your flock as a community, giving everyone tasks they are comfortable with.
You’ll see me do exactly this in “Raising Meat Chickens.”
On the final day, my family and a few close friends gather on my property and everyone is assigned tasks:
- Coning / Culling
- Plucking / Defeathering
- Eviscerating / Cutting Up
- Preparing for the freezer
- Sanitation & clean up
Gather Your Tribe. Support One Another.
Do It Together.
I promise you:
Within your network, you will find people who, with the support of a community, could handle the job of slaughtering the birds without it disturbing their emotional balance.
(The hunters in your life.)
As you’ll see in “Raising Meat Chickens,” this deed can be done calmly, efficiently, and humanely -- it’s over in seconds.
It’s perfectly normal, in communities and tribes around the world, for a few community members to be assigned this particular task.
And for everyone else to support them by performing related tasks based on age, skills, and temperament.
If you want to eat chickens you’ve raised yourself . . . consider “trading” your talents as the caretaker of the flock with those who join you to process the birds.
Support one another. Do it as a community.
And then share the bounty.
But Is This Cost-Effective?
I hear this question a lot:
“Is raising your own meat chickens cheaper?”
And I like to respond with something I once heard Joel Salatin say:
“Is cheapness EVERYTHING there is? I mean, who wants to buy the cheapest car? We’re willing to subsidize the food system to create the mystique of cheap food when actually, it’s very expensive food.
When you add up the environmental cost, societal costs, health costs, the industrial food is not honest food. It’s not priced honestly.”
Source: Food Inc., The Documentary
A hundred years ago, eggs were eaten when available.
And chicken meat was reserved for special occasions.
Today, the average American eats 90 lbs of chicken per year.
And roughly 250 eggs.
Chicken-based products rank #3 as a source of calories in the American diet . . . just below bread and dessert.
Top 3 Sources of Calories In The American Diet:
It’s easy to consume gluttonous volumes of meat (of any kind) when we’re not connected to the source.
But it has been my personal experience . . .
. . . When you have this personal connection to the meat on your plate, you tend to more thoughtful and more deliberate in your meat consumption.
So while, yes:
You CAN raise your own organic meat chickens for between $9 and $14 per bird, as you’ll see me do in this film . . .
(Still a bargain when you consider that comparable organic, free-range chicken will cost you $30+ per bird at an organic grocer . . .)
. . . The question to ask yourself is:
How much cheap chicken do you really want?
Everything You Need To Get Started Raising Chickens For Meat . . . Eggs . . . and Fun!
When I filmed “Raising Meat Chickens,” my #1 goal was to empower you to try it yourself.
By lifting the veil . . . showing you the entire process from beginning to end . . . and letting you see for yourself:
There’s really nothing mysterious or difficult about this.
With a little guidance at the outset, anyone really CAN raise their own chickens for meat.
However, that said, I knew from the get-go that while this 72-minute film would provide an excellent 50,000 ft. overview for anyone contemplating raising meat chickens . . .
. . . You’d probably want MORE step-by-step guidance if, after watching, you were inspired to give it a try!
So that’s why I got in touch with a dear friend and colleague, Tasha Greer, and persuaded her to write the companion guide to go with this film.
It’s called "Raising Backyard Chickens for Meat, Eggs, and Fun".
All The Instructions You’ll Need
(In A Step-By-Step Guide.)
It’s everything you need to get started . . .
A 154-page companion guide, that breaks down every aspect of raising chickens for meat and eggs.
With lots of pictures and helpful lists, it provides just enough information to give you confidence, without boring or overwhelming you.
Highlights of topics covered include:
Chicken Laws Where You Live
Are you allowed to keep backyard chickens? How many? Learn who to call, and what to ask, to find out.
- Why some areas BAN chickens.
- Local laws say NO to chickens? How you *might* still get away with a few backyard hens.
- Questions to ask BEFORE you build a coop.
- What to know before driving chickens across state lines.
- Rules you must follow if you want to sell your eggs.
First Steps ...Where To Begin:
- Advice on where to buy your first chicks.
- Why beginners probably should NOT start with eggs. (Or, mature hens!)
- Chicks in the mail? Why it works (for some).
- How to hatch your own eggs at home.
- Why you MUST avoid snuggling newly hatched chicks!
- Bedding materials that don’t cause respiratory problems.
- How to prevent disease before your chicks develop natural immunity.
- How to transition your chicks from brooder to coop -- without accidentally killing them.
- Tricks for keeping chicks’ food & water clear of manure.
- The ideal age to purchase meat chickens.
The Scoop On The Chicken Coop:
- 6 Chicken Coop Essentials: What your chicken coop MUST include to meet the needs of your flock.
- Choosing the PERFECT chicken coop design (for your property + needs).
- The 3 most common styles of chicken coops.
- How to give your chickens freedom to roam -- while still protecting them from wily predators.
- Right-sizing your chicken coop: how to calculate the space required to house your flock.
- How many hens the typical urban backyard can support.
- Why bigger isn’t always better when building a coop.
- Predator-proof chicken coops -- design tips!
- Coop designs that make managing poop & smell easier.
Your Ideal Flock Size: Getting It Right
- Secrets to calculating the MAXIMUM and MINIMUM chickens your property (and budget) can support.
- Want enough eggs to feed a family of 4 year-round? Fill a freezer with meat? Here’s how you do the math to figure out how many chickens you’ll need.
- Breeds that give you 3-5 pounds more meat per bird.
- Calculating feed costs for laying hens vs. meat chickens.
- The life-cycle of a laying hen and when to expect egg production to decline.
- The (potential) costs of keeping aging hens.
- Common “surprises” for which you can budget.
Feeding & Watering Your Chickens
- The best way to feed your flock (at least until you’ve got more experience).
- Deciding how much to feed your flock.
- 11 dirt-cheap & easy ways to reduce your feed costs!
- Toxic foods you should AVOID feeding your chickens -- including a few surprises that you’d never suspect would be on the list!
- Easy-to-set up gravity-fed watering systems (some which incorporate rain water).
- Knowing how much water your chickens will need.
Keeping Your Flock Happy & Healthy
- 8 signs of healthy birds -- know what to look for!
- Signs your bird(s) need veterinary care.
- Bathing your chickens (why it’s sometimes necessary).
- Egg constipation: how to recognize egg binding before it turns into a serious problem -- and the solution!
- What to do if your chicken’s rosy red comb turns deep blue . . . or black!
- Warning: if one of your flock suddenly drops their feathers OVERNIGHT it may be a sign of *this*.
- The amount of strong light your chickens need each day for optimal egg production.
Processing Day: A Step-By-Step Plan
- The 3 methods most commonly used to quickly, cleanly, and humanely kill a meat chicken.
- Stations to set up in advance of the kills, to make processing and clean up easier.
- Tricks for easily de-feathering the carcass.
- How to remove the internal organs (a.k.a. evisceration).
- Chilling, aging, and storing the meat.
- A common-sense guide to safety and sanitation.
Everything You Need To Build Your Confidence To Take The First Steps.
Including A Little Extra Community Support!
Of course, while this film and companion guide are enough to give ANYONE interested in raising backyard chickens for meat or eggs all the confidence and information you need to make an excellent start . . .
. . . In the spirit of bringing together a community to support your efforts to eat and live more sustainably, I’m ALSO going to include four special Bonus Gifts with your copy of “Raising Meat Chickens” today.
Much like sitting around a community bonfire, listening to friends swap stories and secrets . . .
. . . These 3 bonus videos + gift eBook will offer you a few different perspectives on raising chickens, rounding out your knowledge.
So you can pick and choose methods that appeal to YOU!
How To Grow A Year’s Worth Of Chicken In 51 Days
Featuring Justin Rhodes
In this special BONUS VIDEO, Justin Rhodes of Abundant Permaculture shares how he raised an entire year’s worth of chicken meat for his family . . .
In just 51 days!
Just like me, Justin, too, is going to show you what goes right . . . and what goes wrong . . .
Plus, he’ll be revealing his “secret sauce” for helping his chicks to thrive in those critical first 7 days.
Predator ID: Who Killed Your Chicken?
Featuring Justin Rhodes
A second bonus from Justin, in this video he’ll share his tips on how to keep your chickens safe from the MOST COMMON predators . . .
. . . So you can sleep at night!
Including the 2 chicken predators you need to worry about THE MOST! And, how to raise a guardian goose for “game changing” results.
Picking Chicken Breeds
Featuring Jeanette Beranger
Jeanette Beranger is the Senior Program Manager for The Livestock Conservancy.
And in this video, she'll show you how to choose the best breeds of chicken for your property, lifestyle, and needs . . .
. . . Including the #1 chicken breed she recommends for beginners, the breeds that lay 180+ eggs per year, and chickens that thrive FREE RANGE vs. in COOPS.
Plus -- the best DUAL PURPOSE breeds that make excellent egg layers and table birds, too.
6 Ways To Keep Chickens
By Paul Wheaton
My good friend and colleague Paul Wheaton, founder of the largest permaculture forum on the Web, wrote a really fabulous 38-page book, detailing his adventures in chicken keeping.
He called it “6 Ways to Keep Chickens.”
But really, I think he should have called it:
“7 Years Of Building Crazy Chicken-Keeping Contraptions Before I Hit The Jackpot And Found A Winner!”
Because in this book, Paul is going to walk you through his many years of trial and error, pioneering and experimenting with different chicken keeping methods . . .
. . . And he is going to share his winners with you.
With pictures, diagrams, blueprints, and really clear (and often funny) descriptions.
Specifically, Paul is going to show you the 3 most intelligent ways to keep chickens on your property.
You’ll Get Everything Seen Here:
As you might imagine, I’ve invested a ton of my personal time and resources to have this film and companion guide created for you.
Eleven months. And roughly $19,000.
(That was one VERY expensive flock of meat chickens, ha ha.)
Because of course I had to hire a team that included a professional videographer, an editor, writers, graphic designers . . . Phew, it was a big, resource-intensive project.
Bigger than I anticipated it would be at the outset!
Plus, of course, I’ve used my personal network to arrange these special BONUS GIFTS for you.
So when it came time to set a price for “Raising Meat Chickens,” I confess, I found myself with a dilemma.
Of course, I need to recover my costs.
But I also want to make this information widely available . . .
Let Me Send You This Entire Package Today At Up To 75% Off
After adding up the total package value of everything you get in “Raising Meat Chickens”, including:
. . . I decided that while it’s easily worth $80 to $100, given that my ultimate goal is to EDUCATE and INSPIRE, I’d prefer to make it available for the lowest investment possible.
Which is how I arrived at:
$20 For Digital Access
$40 Delivered To You On A USB!
A percentage of profits from all Grow Network products are donated to the “Earth Recovery Foundation” which is a non-profit organization that provides grants to backyard researchers working on issues critical to individual and family-scale sustainability.
I’ll send you digital access . . .
(You’ll get a password to start watching all of the videos and reading the companion guide + bonus eBook right away!)
Which includes the “Raising Meat Chickens” film + bonus videos for easy viewing.
So Now It’s Time To Decide . . . Will You Live Your Values?
(And Let Me Show You The Most Humane Way To Eat Chicken?)
“In the meat aisle, there are no bones anymore. There is this deliberate veil that’s dropped, this curtain, between our food and where it’s coming from.
The industry doesn’t want you to know where your food is coming from.
Because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.”
Source: Food Inc.
If you choose to eat chicken . . .
. . . And if it’s important to you that the birds you eat lived a great life and died in the most humane way possible, I highly recommend investing in a copy of “Raising Meat Chickens” today.
Let me show you what it’s really like to raise chickens for meat.
So that you can see for yourself . . .
. . . 98% of the process is about giving the birds an excellent quality of life.
And then, if you choose, bringing together a small group of friends and family to process the birds with gratitude.
This is how our ancestors used to live.
Connecting to their food, every day, in a meaningful way.
We can live that way, again, too.
Choose Your Package Below . . . And I'll Show You How It's Done.
3% of profits from all Grow Network products are donated to the “Earth Recovery Foundation” which is a non-profit organization that provides grants to backyard researchers working on issues critical to individual and family-scale sustainability.
And don’t forget . . .
I make this offer with a 100% Money Back Guarantee.
You have a full 60 days to watch the videos, read the companion guide and eBook, and decide whether or not it’s right for you.
If you’re nothing short of thrilled, let me know, and I’ll issue you a prompt refund, no questions asked.
I look forward to hearing about your adventures, raising your own flock of chickens.
Please do reach out with your stories.
I’m Marjory Wildcraft, founder of The Grow Network, the online home of a global network of people who produce their own food and medicine.
We like to think of ourselves as "backyard researchers"; we're constantly experimenting and sharing our discoveries with one another -- testing new paths for sustainable living while reconnecting with the "old ways" that seem to be slipping away too quickly in our modern world.
Our catalyzing statement, the thing that gets us up every morning, is "Homegrown Food On Every Table!"
We value soil, water, sunlight, simplicity, sustainability, usefulness, and freedom.
And we strive to be the most useful site on the web for producing, preparing, and preserving your own food and medecine.
I hope that you'll consider joining us!