I have ordered two chickens, that I will receive sometime this summer. The gentleman whom I am purchasing these chickens are updating us on their story.
Here is our first update:
I told you I’d keep you updated on my chicken venture and I’m finally getting around to doing so.
The chicks arrived on Friday! As I was loading them into my homemade brooders I noticed that they were all yellow colored chicks. That didn’t seem right since I also ordered 25 new egg laying chicks also and I know there should have been some black, some red and some brown chicks also. Ended up that the hatchery sent me 25 extra broilers rather than the layers. No biggie. I’ve got room in the freezer. And I’m guessing some customers will be looking to reorder!
This is the first time that I’ve brooded chicks in a building that is open to the elements on one side. My boxes are made of wood with lids covered in chicken wire. If you remember back, Friday was the night of extremely high winds. Two things that are bad for new chicks….cold and drafts. And then of course came the frosty nights. One thing I’ve learned is to improvise over the years. In addition to the heat lamps that were already in place, I covered most of the brooder box tops with old feed bags and boards. You don’t want them too hot and they need ventilation so I had to leave some of the top open. Long story short, they’ve done okay but I’ve lost a few over the first five days. It’s part of the process. Not fun for my 12 year old helper but she’s come to learn that life and death are part of the natural process. With the upcoming weather pattern, I feel that we’re in the clear.
Now it’s on to building the movable pens. I have all of the materials and will be making two of them over the next 10 days. My goal is to have the chicks out on pasture at about 2 weeks old (which is fairly normal….some go three weeks depending on weather).
I’ll post some pictures when I get a chance.
Interesting note. A chick can go for 3 days without food and water. That’s how hatcheries can mail them all over the country. What I didn’t know about pasture raised chickens is that you can indoctrinate them (if you will) on what food is. For the first 2 days I had them, I fed them nothing but chopped up grasses. And they ate it like crazy. I am still amazed at how they know what food is. They’re walking around on sawdust but they don’t eat that. But they eat the grass like it’s going out of style. BUT, you can’t raise poultry on nothing but forage. They must have grains and protein so now they’re on grain rations and I mix in some grass. This also helps them learn that grass is good food when they’re moved to pasture. Forage provides the vitamins and minerals that commercial poultry producers either leave out or supplement with chemical type mixtures.
Til next time.