He Was a Happy Rooster

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One thing that is important to me in our Real Food is endeavor being aware of where our food is coming from. We hope some day in the future to be able to consume most of our food from local sources. But like everything, it takes time to make that happen. It has been easiest for us to focus on getting our protein from local sources. We get our beef from a rancher about 20 miles from us as part of a CSA, our milk comes from a small local dairy, our eggs are either from my five little chickens or a friend with chickens, and we have been able to get pastured chickens from the same friend a couple of times. We actually helped with the processing of the chickens once and our Thanksgiving turkey came from her and lived with us for just over a week and then my wonderful husband processed that turkey (along with two ducks given to us a bonus with the turkey). Now that we are feeling comfortable with the processing we are moving onto a new endeavor. Raising our own chickens for meat.

I wasn’t really sure that this was something I wanted to do. I love having my chickens for eggs and even though I said I wouldn’t, have become slightly attached to those silly chickens. We wanted six hens and ended up with five hens and a rooster. All was well until a few weeks ago when the rooster decided that jumping on our legs every time we went out would be a good idea. As a result of that, we now have five hens only. I’ll admit that it was a little challenging for me to be okay with processing that rooster but it turned out to not be as bad as I expected. In some ways it felt good to know that this chicken was cared for by me. I knew that he had been running around the yard in the company of his hens. I knew that he was a good protector to them and quite the gentleman always letting the hens go first when I took out scraps or water. And please don’t think me morbid but everyone agreed he was the best tasting chicken we had ever had. I believe that a big reason for that is he was a happy rooster.

I now know that raising and processing our own meat is possible for us. I have big plans this year to add more chickens for laying and for meat plus (maybe) ducks and turkeys. Financially, all that may not be possible right now but a girl can dream. Having meat and egg chickens and a little garden will be a big step toward our goal of knowing our food source. I know that this is not possible for everyone (or even what everyone wants to do) but it is a great choice for our family.

Do raise your own food through gardening, animals or both?


This post is a contribution to Fight Back Friday hosted each week by Food Renegade.
Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at MillieCopper.com.


  1. Kim

    >Good for you! Did you notice how much darker your fresh chicken was than the store bought?

    I'm sure that's because he was a happy guy!

  2. Millie

    >Yes! It freaked me out a little bit. I hadn't noticed that with the chickens we got from my friend so I was very surprised by it.

  3. Michaela Dunn Leeper

    >I loved knowing how ours were raised as well. I watched a show last night on the istory Channel, discussing "free-range" & pastured, etc. Even the ones that are "not raised in battery cages" really aren't much better off. I knew this already, but this show made it seem like a good thing that hens were raised in cramped barns, with little natural light because there were NO CAGES!?!?!?!

    Anyhoo, sorry about the roo, but grats on a good meal raised the right way!

    Oh, I finally found beef. I picked up my small order yesterday & have a half coming in May-ish.

  4. motherhen68

    >Well, how'd you cook him? My husband and I joke all the time about the rooster I'm going to get for my hens that I'm going to get one day. Cock-A-Doodle-BANG or "yeah, he'll crow and wake me up once" LOL.

  5. Stephanie

    >Congratulations! We don't think there is anything tastier or more rewarding than your own homegrown chickens!!! Looking forward to your continued chicken journey!

  6. Millie

    Congrats on the beef! I know that has been a project you've been working on for a while.

    In the crock pot using a recipe from the Cooking Traditional Foods menu mailer. One good thing about living in Wyoming, the wind blows so much here that the 'cockle doodle doo's' just blew on to Nebraska. I rarely heard him. It was that leg jumping that became a real issue. He'd make my girls cry (not out of pain, just fear).

    Thank you! I have to agree. I do think if we are going to process very many we should get one of those fancy pluckers like you have.

  7. Lori

    >I so want to raise chickens for meat and eggs!!! Have you figured out your costs with the eggs? I wonder how much they would cost me, when I can get them from a friend for $2.50/dozen.

  8. Millie

    I'm still working on my cost analysis. Our chickens are still young and only started laying a few months ago.We free range and give kitchen scraps so a bag of feed (which costs me $10.99) lasts almost 2 months (when we had the roo, it will last longer with just the hens). I'm getting 4 or 5 eggs a day. Figuring it that way I think that it is under the $2.50 a dozen but that doesn't take into account start up costs. We spent about $175 on the coop and I think $18 buying the chicks. Plus we use a heat lamp on our sub zero nights and days so that adds to our electric. Gosh, figuring in the coop costs I think we are eating GOLDEN EGGS! A less expensive coop could be built using a chicken tractor plan. Our coop is small but sturdy and insulated to account for our cold, wind and predators.

  9. Heidi

    >I find it hard every time there is processing to be done, and as yet haven't had the courage to actually be there at the time. Although I was really proud of myself with the last batch of chickens we did that I was able to help my husband with the plucking.

    I think it should be a hard decision to make, and wont eat meat that I can't be sure led a happy and natural life. It really does make a difference to the way it tastes.

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