Friday, August 5, 2011

Processing Poultry: A little story about Ole McDowell & Mr. Bird

Once upon a time, there was a chicken farmer. He wanted to raise egg-laying and meat chickens and turkeys naturally, running around on pasture - but he didn’t know how he would process them. He met a nice man who was a butcher by trade, who also had all the equipment for a mobile poultry processing facility. The first year, the processor, Mr. Bird, drove out to the chicken farm and in the most clean and humane way possible, ‘processed’ the chickens. The chicken farmer was then able to sell them to his friends and family. The chickens were nicely plucked and their innards were properly removed and disposed of. All was hunky dory.

Then one day the chicken processor learned from some (state)government people (what a mess) that even though he followed all their rules, he was being shut down and could no longer process chickens the way he had been doing all along. So the chicken farmer was left scrambling to find someone to process the rest of his birdies. Thankfully, a temporary substitute was found, but the farmer still missed Mr. Bird. In time, Mr. Bird built a small, local, chicken processing facility in Utah – the first of its kind. He made sure to talk with higher (federal)government people so he wouldn’t all of the sudden get shut down again. They inspected and approved his facility. He called the farmer to inform him that he now had a USDA approved custom-exempt processing facility. Not a moment to soon since their chickens were getting bigger by the day.

Now the farmer and his wife are very happy. This was causing them big headaches. The processor said he’d have to raise the price of processing chickens by $1.50 per bird and turkeys by $3 per bird in order to pay for this facility and feed his li’l wife and kids. This makes the farmer have to raise his price on poultry by the same to help make farming worth it.

Though he hasn’t turned a profit yet, the farmer knows that there are many ways to measure success. Supporting the local farmer, the local processor – shortening the distance the food has to travel, knowing what is put into the food he raises for his family and friends, and respecting the land and animals are just some of his measures of success. Ole McDowell and Mr. Bird get to work together again. The end.

This is a picture of Mr. Bird and his mobile processing facility...the 'before' if you will. The 'new' pic will be up soon.

The EGG-mobile

After much ado, I am finally able to post a slideshow of the process of building the egg mobile. What a project! Enjoy...and stay tuned because we're hopefully planning a farm day for the last Saturday in August (27th) - a day to bring yourself and kids to see the farm.

About the egg-mobile: Danny was gifted a trailer from a friend – and used his creativity to dream up this egg-mobile. Shawnee’s dad is a builder and an artist, so he helped design the thing, and her brother helped on the labor too. Between the three of them, this is what they came up with. And I can tell you, the chickens LOOOOOVE it! It’s like the Marriott of chicken hotels. It’s a moveable structure that holds about 32 egg laying boxes lined with hay. The boxes can be closed at night so the chickens don’t sleep and poop in them. The sides open giving easy access to the eggs each morning. It has an Aluminum shingle roof, compliments of Alumilife and the Aluminum Shingle Company. Thanks to all who designed, built, and transported this beauty!(which included a flat tire that left the egg mobile on the side of the freeway overnight!!) We have so many pictures, (none of the flat tire experience though, they were too graphic for a family blog!! Or was that the audio that was too graphic?) enjoy the slideshow.