Monday, June 12, 2006
As you all know by now, we have been raising chickens, lots of chickens. And when you feed and water chickens, they grow. And when they get big enough, you have to do something with them, or they will overtake your farm. And since the chicken labor union (CLU) was established in 1947, it has become increasingly difficult for small scale poultry operators like us to be successful. Take for instance the standards set by CLU.
1) All poultry, regardless of age, nationality, gender or physical or mental handicap shall entiltied to paid holidays, paid sick leave, workers compensation, and vacation time on established poultry enterprises.
2) Payment of the foul breeds ,(By means of daily feeding schedules) shall include, but not remain limited to- corn, soybean meal, wheat, alfalfa pellets, ostyer shell, kelp, sea salt, oatmeal, rye, fresh grass, insects, romaine lettuce, organice California carrots and peaches, roma tomatoes, fish meal, whey, feta cheese and organic dog food.
3) Each bird is entitled to a daily ration of no less than 1/3 its body weight in above mentioned rations.
4) Each bird is entitled to no less than 4 gallons purified, steam distilled, cold water a day.
5) Each bird is entitled to no less than 4 cubic feet of fresh forage a day.
6) From the months of April through September, all poultry age 2 weeks and older and to be established in confinement that allows for ideal climate control, with electronic accessiblilty for fans, and if neccesary air conditioning units that maintian temperature no lower than 65* and no higher than 85* F.
7) From the months of October to March, all poultry age 2 weeks and older are to be established in confinement that allows for ideal climate control, with electronic accessiblity to provide heat and humidity at optimum percetiles. The conditions shall not fall below 65* and 30% humitity and shall not rise above 85* and 50% humitity.
8) Labor guidelines for poultry after 2 weeks of age. The foul shall not be positioned in a job that requires lifting an excess of 3 oz., flying over 21 inches high, walking over 100 yards, or pulling over 5 oz. The birds shall not be placed in positions that may endager life or wing, by toxic chemicals, hazardous machinery, rotating pulleys, hights exceeding 2 feet, or electronic shock.
And I could go on and on. As you can clearly see, it is hard to make money on chickens. And we never wanted them to do all that much work anyway. Just paint the house, (paintbrush too heavy, see #8) weed the garden, ( no climate control, see # 6) and chase away the stray cats, (again, see #8. )
We were beginning to become discouraged until we came up with an idea that we could not see outlawed in the above CLU-LESS, (umm, excuse me,) CLU guidelines.
Behold the PLUCKER. Scott is almost done with it. This mechanical wonder can pluck 20 lbs of chicken in 30 seconds. We are just waiting on a few parts a guy is machining for us. Then on to butchering. Just in case, please don't tell CLU, killing the chicken was probably never on their mind when they made up that list, but we don't want to get in trouble now!