Today we harvested our Freedom Rangers. This was our first experience raising animals for meat. It was hard, but the thing is, I know these birds had a great life. They spent their days outside, enjoying the sunshine…and the rain. They were companions to Astrid and Claire, they ate bugs and worms, grass, and trees and really and truly frolicked. We enjoyed them very much, watching them grow and have fun…being chickens.
We had 5 rogue birds – 4 hens and a rooster, we got to calling them “The Marooned 5″. For the past few days, they lived in a cosp of trees where we had the goats (and the birds) last week. We were finally able to catch them this morning, but they sure gave us a run for our money more than once, and today it was in the mud.
Tonight I can sleep like a baby knowing we did our best for these birds, and the security of having a freezer full of meat for this winter. We know everything the chickens ate, and how healthy they all were.
I did shed some tears for my girl Gimpy. She was one of our layers who was born with a birth defect that left her crippled in one leg. She lived in a medium sized dog crate in the hen house, because if we let her out with the others they would kill her. We tried splinting her leg, hoping she would thrive and walk again. But over the last few months, she really started to deteriorate. So we put her down today, it was hard, as we are more attached to our layers, then we were to the Rangers. At least she is not in pain anymore.
We decided to keep two Ranger hens to put on bug duty in the goat pastures. They love being outside and the goats love having their winged friends with them.