In the video above we share details of our experience purchasing baby chicks from Greenfire Farms. We purchased 20 American Bresse day old chicks. This is a rare and exotic breed of meat chicken, and the cost was $20 per chick. We have raised chickens on the homestead for the last 10 years, but this is our first try at raising meat chickens.
First off, when the chicks arrived, one was dead. Greenfire Farms requires you send a picture of the dead chicken to get a refund. This was all very upsetting to my wife, and it was very traumatic to her that the had to go get the chick out of the trash, and take a picture of it. I would suggest that Greenfire Farms should have a higher level of trust for their customers. My experience is that homesteaders are pretty honest people, and I wish Greenfire Farms would rethink this policy.
What we like about the Bresse chickens is that they are an heirloom breed. Most meat chickens these days, especially the cornish cross chickens, are overbred and have become bloated franken-chickens. These freaks of nature are so big they can barely walk, have deformed features and have to be butchered at around 10 weeks because they can not live as a normal chicken would. We did not want these overbred freaks on our homestead.
The nice thing about the Bresse is that they are beautiful, well formed and proportional birds. We found the chicks to be very calm, and the Bresse chickens have peaceful temperaments and are nice to have in the barnyard. I will also add that the roosters have a nice disposition. They get their rooster job done, but they are not mean to the hens and are not aggressive to us.
We have butchered our first batch of Bresse Chickens. When the roosters got to be about 2 1/2 months old we butchered them, saving back the best two roosters to allow us to raise more chicks. Bresse are known for “firm” meat. We found the meat to be indeed firm . . . and in fact borderline tough. The meat was tasty.
Our plan for our bresse chickens is to try to raise more. We presently have 10 hens and two roosters. Our hope is to have chicks. When we have chicks, we will keep the hens, and then eat most of the roosters.
The Bresse are good egg producers, so the breed is an excellent dual purpose breed.
There were several areas of concern we have over these birds. In addition to the one bird that was dead on arrival, we found after a week or so two of the chickens were not able to walk. They just flopped around. Upon closer inspection, we found that these chicks had no hip joint. There leg bones were not connected to their bodies. It appeared to be a congenital defect. Upon further investigation, we found that at least 1/3 of the chicks had some sort of deformity in their legs and feet. Many had toes that were upside down or sideways. Many of the chickens walked awkwardly due to these leg/feet deformities. We wonder if these chickens have become overbred, and perhaps too small of a breeding flock was brought to the US to propagate this breed.
Overall, we are pleased with the chickens and plan to continue to raise them.