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Gone off to the labour ward? Methinks we have some educating to do here folks - this post was from someone who appears to keep hens, but is unaware of the hatching process.

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Good lord these people who have bought hens over the lockdown are unreal - do they not look up all about housing, keeping and medicating chickens in their care - I dread to think what they are being fed also after the breast milk post!

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From what I read there are some 'good' chicken keepers, but there are also quite a few who feed them on scraps and leftovers, and housing in things like an old plastic wendy house. I predict a few abandoned hens once the winter weather kicks in.

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For sure.

Let's also not forget, though, that lack of knowledge is not a crime in and of itself. Thinking a hen will take herself off to "have babies" is certainly pretty bizarre, but at least it's unlikely to affect the hen's health. The new keeper will almost certainly have a few eye-opening revelations and will probably look back in a few years with embarrassment about how naive he or she was at the start, but I suspect we all have an element of that to varying degrees. As DM points out, there are plenty of newcomers who're 'good' chicken keepers and, despite their innocence have found their feet meaning their chooks are happy and healthy hens.

It is a big pity about the less scrupulous opportunists, though, and I'm sadly sure DM's prediction will be pretty accurate.

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Speaking of lockdown hens, this is a post from the Dutch SPCA.

first photo is the before...

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I'd love to say that's shocking, but I can't.

I won't try to pretend that first photo is even close to acceptable, but what I find really telling is that those two poor hens are still pictured living in immeasurably better conditions than all the battery hens we were having to rehome up until only pretty recently. Entirely legally. Thank God the law has changed now - at least in the UK. How anyone could think keeping an animal that restricted might be humane or even morally defensible is beyond me.

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I went to buy a chicken the other day - was faced with 4 choices.   Well no choice for me other than free range but there were £3.50 chickens, freedom to roam chickens, free range chickens and organic chickens.   Will there be another kind when the chlorinated chickens come along?   I know people have to eat  and a lot cannot help buying the cheap chickens but for that price obviously its you get what you pay for..

 

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The trouble is that a lot of people hate the idea of badly treated food animals, so they just don’t think about it. I’m a bit of an embarrassment to some of my friends I think because whenever we go out to eat I ask where the meat is from before I decide whether I can order it, and they all know why I do it. But then this week, one of my best friends who lives near an indoor pig farm messaged to ask if I knew where she could get some ‘happy bacon’, because she’d heard the pigs being loaded into the lorry and it made her sad. I’m glad about that and it’s a start but I know she buys cheap chicken 🤷‍♀️

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Personally I'd rather pay more for a smaller amount of 'happier' meat than less for 'miserable' meat, which is often full of water anyway. I only buy British - sadly we cannot afford to go completely organic with meat but I always look for the Red Tractor label and make sure that chicken is free range, pork outdoor reared etc. I'd love to have a small holding and rear my own......one day!!!!

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I’ve gone mostly vegetarian. Although somethings don’t have replacements that really do it for me. My mom still cooks with meat, and I’m fine with that, when I have dinner at her place. I just make an effort not to buy meat for myself anymore.

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1 hour ago, Cat tails said:

I’ve gone mostly vegetarian. Although somethings don’t have replacements that really do it for me. My mom still cooks with meat, and I’m fine with that, when I have dinner at her place. I just make an effort not to buy meat for myself anymore.

I tried to do this over a year ago.   The only substitute for meat I liked was the quorn mince!   The cheeses were not nice and it was difficult when I was out and about (was in USA on holiday)    I have to cook it for husband at home so eat    some but have lots of non meat stuff for me too.  Thank you M & S for some good things!   Thankfully I love vegetables - well most of them not including eggplant!  And could live on beans and fruit and veg/ rice/ couscous.

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I always buy meat from the butcher but recently found out through the grapevine they were buying in cheap meat from Europe to increase profits. Needless to say I have now changed to another butcher who I trust but I still see queues outside of the other one as people assume meat from a butcher is good. I still find it very difficult to buy local chicken though.

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There are certainly advantages to local butchers but that doesn't mean you can assume local is good. For me, the two big advantages are that you can ask the food's provenance (which, being a small business, they can actually answer) and that I'm not dealing with the big supermarkets (whose buying tactics amount to bullying, and who I can't trust to give honest answers if it gets in the way of a profit). Nonetheless, if my local butcher told me they were selling meat from livestock crated over from Europe, I'd stop buying from there immediately. In fact, my butcher gets their meat very locally, clubbing together with one or two other butchers to guarantee the local farmer a market. That keeps the costs down, hence allowing them to compete favourably with the big chains whilst maintaining quality standards.

I understand that "people have to eat", but feel the argument that goes with it is flawed. A vegetarian or vegan diet can be cheaper than one with meat, but any diet with processed foods and ready meals will be more expensive than a similar one cooking from basic ingredients. If one chooses to eat meat, the best flavour often comes from the cheapest cuts, so not only do you get a cost saving on the meat, you don't need so much to get the flavour to go around. Of course, all this comes at the expense of time to prepare, but it just demonstrates the answer to feeding people economically is not to use bad quality cheap meat but to switch to using good quality intrinsically cheap ingredients for bulk and small quantiities of good quality ingredients when possible for the flavour.

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Completely agree Major - one of my favourite tricks is using half lentils and half mince for lasagne, chilli etc. It actually makes a lighter and tastier meal plus it goes twice as far! I think a lot of people don't know how to cook these days but am encouraged to see more of a trend in cooking and awareness of where meat comes from.

The only 'ready meals' I buy are from a lovely lady (Glorious Game if anyone is interested) up North who makes meals at home using pheasants from the season using ingredients I would use too. Always happy to support a small business and it means I don't have to cook on a Friday! 

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With different family members being vegetarians we made an effort to make nice alternatives for them.  Soya is bland and needs soaking in Marmite (yuk) or something for flavour.  The only thing it had going for it was that it didn't have bone or gristle left in the mince.  Then we discovered Quorn.  Much more tasty and versatile.  My daughter eats those products a fair bit.  But Linda McCartney sausage rolls are the best ones.  I know she also likes the duck - which she uses in stir fries.  We had a mushroom Wellington the other day from M&S - can't remember if it was part of our Christmas stock up, but it was really nice.  I do a version of pastie filling without the pastry.  Just use Trex which gives it the feel of having lamb.  We do eat a fair amount of vegetarian meals ourselves, and I always (used to) choose vegetarian meals when dining out.  Mainly to test for visitors or if it was worth going back.  

There was a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Lyme Regis which was super.  I wonder if it is still around?

 

 

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I am lucky in that I have a very good free-range butcher locally, who sells high welfare meat, so buying small amounts, and cheaper cuts, as major has said is my way to go - it's easy enough to eke out, but i think that part of the problem is that so many people don't have/aren't willing to learn the cooking techniques which our grandparents used to make meat go further. War time cooking if you like.

My grandparents had a smallholding (well quite a sizeable one) so I grew up with a sense of respect for the animals which produced our food, and the knowledge of how to use other ingredients to 'bulk out' a dish. One of our favourites is still venison and bean stew. There are a lot of farm shops around here, and friends with farms where I can get local meat and produce, I occasionally practice my despatch and dress techniques on friends' chooks, and right now I'm making Italian chicken soup form the carcass of one that I roasted yesterday.

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Surprising how much stock can be produced from a chicken carcass!  Has anyone on here roasted chicken bones and then made it into broth?  When we do have meat we cook a large amount to either add to dishes or home made ready meals.

Yes, lucky to have neighbours who provide the lamb and beef, with a farm behind them producing poultry and waterfowl.  There is a man with a van that gets fresh fish daily - which is good - only an hour drive either side to the sea.  We also order from a Cornish fish provider - superb!  Buy in bulk and freeze.  

https://thecornishfishmonger.co.uk/

 

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Make stock or soup from the leftover carcass and meat from a roast chicken but never roast the bones first. Might try that.

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Posted (edited)

Agree with the major.   Have a great butcher who buys from the local Mart where the beasts go to be sold and then are slaughtered for him.   All traceable to local farms around here.   He does chicken carcass from where he cuts the chicken breasts etc off for sale and sells the bags of carcasses cheap.   They are lovely roasted with carrots and onions and then I pressure cook them for stock.   I use my slow cooker to cook cuts of stewing steak casseroles for the freezer and the long slow cooking makes everything tender.  (cheaper on the electricity too!)  That way can use cheaper cuts of meat too.  Loads of veggies to bulk it out and as we are really only about 30 miles from the coast we have fabulous fish monger vans who come weekly with everything from langoustine and scallops to lemon sole and haddock.   All fresh and really nice.   One pet hate of mine is having to buy fruit from abroad - love mango and pineapple and unfortunately the food miles go up for them as a long way away.  

Edited by Blackrocksrock
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I gather the bones break down to get more goodness from the marrow if it is roasted?  Might try our instant pot - will see how it goes.  I don't think we have any chicken to roast at the moment though.

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Canned lentils make a great mince replacement. I prefer it over products like Quorn. Much cheaper too. I’m lucky as there are loads of vegetarian options in the Netherlands, most supermarkets have their own brand of very decent stuff. We also have the Vegetarian Butcher as a brand and their “meats” are very good. Their chicken looks more like chicken than some chicken in dishes. But I don’t often buy those because they aren’t cheap. I rather do without all together. Still have to find a good replacement for sandwich meats. Most of the veggie stuff is far too sweet.

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I'm not keen on lentils - but we have those most of the time now - OH's diet.  He's lost so much weight since he was diagnosed pre-diabetic and he's now not diabetic but needs to keep on top of things.  I said I'd join with him.  Easier to just do one meal for us both.  But I like potatoes.  Nope - I looooove potatoes - which is one of the things he has cut back on.  Neither of us eat bread now. I've also lost a fair bit of weight but not as much as him - a slow progress but I'm happy that I can get my wellies on and off easily!  And trousers in the wardrobe that were OK to stand up in, I can now sit down in them.  Most embarrassing the other day - they started falling down while we were out!  Good job they had some cord to tie it with.  I never bothered before!  Had to get OH to hold my stuff so I could hoik them back up to the waist and pull those strings!  :oops:

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12 hours ago, Cat tails said:

Canned lentils make a great mince replacement. I prefer it over products like Quorn. Much cheaper too. I’m lucky as there are loads of vegetarian options in the Netherlands, most supermarkets have their own brand of very decent stuff. We also have the Vegetarian Butcher as a brand and their “meats” are very good. Their chicken looks more like chicken than some chicken in dishes. But I don’t often buy those because they aren’t cheap. I rather do without all together. Still have to find a good replacement for sandwich meats. Most of the veggie stuff is far too sweet.

Never tried tinned lentils but have added red lentils to mince to bulk it out along with oatmeal at times = makes it go a long long way further.   Not found any chicken replacement that I liked so eat better chicken but less of it.  Try  No tuna tuna filling for sandwiches - its made of chick peas Tahini and I really like it.

https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-burgers-wraps/vegan-no-tuna-salad-sandwich/

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