A Market for Meat Birds

Get the most bang for your cluck: Turn raising and processing poultry into a moneymaking, community-supported agriculture venture.

| October/November 2019

ChickenCSA
Photo from Flickr/U.S.Department of Agriculture

“If we ever get land, I’m going to start raising our own meat.” This was a promise I made to myself years ago when I learned of the potential side effects of growth hormones in the meat and milk my six children consumed.

I made good on my promise when we moved to Georgia in the winter of 2002 and purchased a beautiful home on nearly 7 acres. We call our property Lazy B Farm. Being a book-taught farmer, I stumbled my way along and eventually began raising chicken, pork, and beef for our family. My meat-production journey finds me today with a cow and calf operation that provides high-quality pastured beef for our “cowpooling” program. Our customers buy beef by the quarter, half, or whole at wholesale prices. And with our private meat label, we’re able to sell our beef in stores, at farmers markets, and even across state lines.

We do the same with our pasture-raised, heritage-breed hog operation: “pigpooling” for those who want to buy quality in quantity, and our private label for those who prefer to buy a few chops or a ham at a time. But the chickens have been a different kind of journey, fraught with extra challenges.



ChickenCSA
Cyndi Ball teaches classes demonstrating different techniques for preparing whole chickens. Photo by Melissa Marlowe

Beginning the Poultry Process

I live in Georgia, which has been declared the Poultry Capital of the World. On an average day, Georgia produces an estimated 26 million pounds of chicken. The poultry industry alone contributes over $18.4 billion to the state’s economy each year. And the annual production from an average Georgia poultry farm could feed over 22,000 people.





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