So you and a few neighbors decided to raise chickens in your backyard, good for you. 6 to 12 chickens will produce a lot of eggs for your family and friends; about 1 per hen every 25 hours when they are not molting, assuming that they are not hiding the eggs in the shrubbery on you. You also don’t need to have a rooster unless you believe that treating an animal humanely includes satisfying their baser natural instincts and urges. However, there comes a time in every animal husbander’s life when they need to deal with culling the flock, this has prevented many from attempting backyard chicken operations. For those who want the benefits of fresh home raised eggs without the end of life trauma there may now be a solution.
I read a post today from Seacoast Eat Local titled Bringing Mobile Processing to Southern NH. The folks at Fournier Free Range Foods have a mobile slaughter-house, aka abattoir on wheels, and they can process 150 chickens or 50 turkeys a day. They are also in the process of having their HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and SOP (Standardized Operating Procedures) evaluated in order to obtain USDA Inspection approval. That really is a big deal, especially if you have a few more than 6 chickens roaming your backyard. Once USDA Inspection qualified, as your chickens are processed they become acceptable for sale to restaurants, retail stores, etc. Quoting their website:
“Increasing the availability of organic, free range and antibiotic free products is the cornerstone of creating a sustainable growing environment, economy and community for seven generations to follow.”
If you are that small-scale residential chicken farmer then contact your local Agriculture Commission and request that they coordinate a day with Fournier to come to your Town so all small-scale producers can be ensured of a humane, safe, sanitary ending for your older hens and roosters.