Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Chicken CSA Mentor wanted: Eggcelent Opportunity

Posted by Nika On April - 3 - 2008

Chickenalia: chickens out for sun and food

This is a call out to those of you out there who have some experience with setting up your own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) activity.

I need your guidance and mentorship so any and all input is welcome and appreciated.

We are currently seriously contemplating setting up a trial run chicken CSA where the chickens will be raised naturally (the word “organic” is woefully deprecated and co-opted by money-grabbing certification types – I cant afford organic certification status right now, not if I want to actually get started that is).

We will raise slow-growth long bodied breeds of chickens like you see the French growing in their “Label Rouge” program. Our chickens will be forest dwellers like those in the Label Rouge program. There is no official “Label Rouge” program in the US but that’s ok because the First Principles of Label Rouge are attractive and to be emulated. We will be more like the organic Label Rouge where we will not use any sorts of chemicals or antibiotics, not because I think it’s the “in” thing but because I follow the golden rule in my cultivation and animal husbandry:

Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Corollary: Treat your animals with the greatest respect possible – they are beings too

Life is absolutely too short to start something like this and not do it MY way. This is not to say that what the neighbor down the street is doing is wrong, its just that I need to do this my way.

I compromise on so much else; don’t we all!

What do I need?

I need to know how to find a local butcher and how that all works (in terms of costs and their capacity) – I have zero clue here. I need to know how best to find people who will want to buy these CSA shares – I fear raising a load of chickens which then are not pre-sold. These questions MUST be asked by any producer when they first start, I know, but I do sound sorta goofy not knowing the answers.

We are also going to be doing CSA egg shares (we just love them girl chickens so much!).

I hope that you all, with clues on this, will come out of the woodwork and drop me a note. When you leave a comment the system gets your email (confidentially I think) and then I can reply to you off-blog to have a longer convo on this.

2 Responses to “Chicken CSA Mentor wanted: Eggcelent Opportunity”

  1. shannon says:

    why not butcher them yourself? it really is a lost art, but it really connects you to your food. why don’t you find a local old-timer that can take you under wing. That is how I learned. I never EVER would have guessed that I would ever EVER butcher a chicken. But, after helping on a local farm it is something that my husband and I have decided to do annually. We also are trying to organize a chicken CSA. I think the hardest part will be getting people to pay what the meat is WORTH, not the butchering part. The farm I worked at sold hers for 2.75 a pound and the average was 5-6 pounds. Do the math and it ain’t no foster farm special, 44 cents a pound, hell they’ll give you another for just 2.50! But that is NOT the way we should be eating anyway. So…here is my advice
    1 Find a local old timer to pick their brain
    2 Call your county extension and see if they know of a chicken plucker that can be rented or borrowed
    3 Read up on butchering and roll up your sleeves

    Now, you must be thinking I am some homely country bumpkin from the “woods” in Washington. Ain’t so! I can mingle with the best of them, I love vintage, I drink a fine wine, and I am passionate about changing our food system. So, that’s what I leave with you. Good luck and if you need more, drop me a line!
    Shannon

  2. Nika says:

    Shannon: Thnx for your comment! I actually took a class last summer on just this thing but that doesnt mean I am ready to butcher legions of chickens! I guess I gotta just butch it up :-) I am relatively butch but this is the next level (winks).

    Dont be a stranger, we sound like we like to do similar things!

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.

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