This Season, Don't Forget Your Chickens!

| 12/17/2013 10:50:00 AM

Leigh Schlling Edwards‘Tis the season, and we all know what that means! It means Black Friday is always spent tracking down and bringing home…

… that perfect trophy buck! And in my case it means spending the rest of the day explaining to my youngest child that I am not, in fact, skinning one of Santa’s reindeer.

Oh – what? You thought I was going to say “Black Friday Shopping?” OK – we can call it “deer shopping” if that’s your thing…

For us, deer hunting is one of the primary ways we feed our family through the winter months (and spring, summer and fall if we do really well). We also supplement our diets by raising chickens for both eggs and meat.

Have you ever thought about how deer hunting and chicken keeping could be partnered in the perfect symbiotic relationship? OK – neither had I until I got into an online discussion with some other chicken-keeping friends about boosting meat protein in the diets of our flocks. And that’s when the “why didn’t I think of that” suggestion was brought up of keeping most of the deer organs you would normally discard while field dressing a deer. 

Hunting is somewhat of a family tradition. My father was born and raised in Wyoming, and his mother taught him all there was to know about hunting deer and elk. Like most parents passing on important knowledge, she taught him about field dressing … and now here I come, the 40-something whippersnapper that I am, hollering about not leaving all those wonderful organs behind!

1/13/2014 7:11:49 PM

Leigh, we raise rabbits and frequently have parts to get rid of, besides the intestines what don't you use? Can they just be cut up into small chunks? or does it have to be ground up?

12/22/2013 2:01:17 PM

Leigh, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. I don't own chickens due to city regulations and neighbor dogs. I'm not a hunter either but all the information in your post was quite interesting. I like reading about live stock even though I would never have any. I grew up on the farm and am aware of the twice a day chores. That's why I've chosen to have wild life animals so when I'm gone they can take care of themselves. ***** Have a great chicken treat day.

12/18/2013 7:40:15 PM

Good post! in the world do your birds break apart those solid frozen pieces? I think mine would have a really hard time. But I imagine it does keep them busy :D So far I've just chopped it into small pieces and frozen them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. When they freeze, I put them into ziplocs and keep in freezer. Take some out and thaw enough for each time then throw the pieces. I've been blessed to get 4 venison livers this year!

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