Years ago we used to buy in day old meat chicks.  These birds are bred to grow fast, and can be processed for the table in as little as 5 weeks.  Any attempt to grow these birds out for 6 months or more, usually results in failure – the failure of the birds’ legs to be able to hold them up.  Despite our efforts to raise commercial meat chicks to breeding age, by feeding them a lower protein diet, and encouraging them to free range, we were only able to keep 1 hen successfully to laying age.  Eventually, she too, succumbed to the phenomenon of her legs no longer being able to hold her own weight.  For this reason we no longer support the idea of commercial meat birds, instead choose to raise old fashioned table birds, which take 6 months to grow to eating size, and in the process develop a fantastic true ‘chicken’ flavour. 

Cockerels are processed around 6 months of age and hens around their third laying year.  We raise chicks every year to replace the layers we use for the table.  We usually have around 50 chickens on the place at any one time!

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Silver Grey Dorking cockerels ready for processing

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The Dorkings are one of the smaller of the large breeds, but provide a lovely white, delicately flavoured meat

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