chicken keeping · Homesteading

Here a Chick, There a Chick…..

Its autumn already.

I can’t believe it!  I raised chickens late this year.  It was just a busy year so I got a late start on meat chickens.  I didn’t even try turkeys this time.  They were interesting really, but I just didn’t feel like I wanted to mess with them this year.

Think they could do this one?? Maybe not yet….

Next year we are hoping to build a bigger coop.  I have several pinterst posts pinned and, well, it probably won’t look like them.

what our outdoor  run used to look like...
what our outdoor run used to look like…

But it could happen.

Over the winter we are hoping to look them over and figure out what we want our coop to look like and build that.  Our goal is to have the older boys train the younger boys in building.  I think they could do it.  It may look ugly at times but I am confident that they could work together and get it done.

the much happier, healthier, now molting, old ladies!!
the much happier, healthier, now molting, old ladies!!

Right now, I have 10 chicks that I have just moved into the main coop.  We spent the weekend scrubbing and repairing the coop so as long as they are all disoriented I thought I would just throw in the new ones.  Unfortunately, its not that easy.

They are still acclimating.  I couldn’t put them into the pen with the rest yet as they were all huddled in a corner and I was worried that they would get beat up in the morning.  The way its been laid out as we cleaned and repaired, I was able to let the new batch be near the old ladies, but separated by the fencing.

Chickens are funny critters really.

Have you heard the term “pecking order”??  Well, its true and it comes from chickens.  They have an order and will peck at each other to establish the order.  They can even kill a “lower” hen.  While they get used to each other, they will peck and fight.

the temporary outdoor pen that the new babies are acclimating in.
the temporary outdoor pen that the new babies are acclimating in.

 

I didn’t want to lose any of this new bunch.  They are the sweetest batch and so pretty.   I am going to open the fence up eventually and let them mix but not until they have relaxed a bit and gotten used to each other.  Even then, I will wait til bedtime so they are sleepy and lazy and won’t fight.  In the morning, they will just take things in stride hopefully.

I also have been really working to deworm them right now.  It seems that is why those 3 chickens died and also why egg production is down.   I am hitting them with medicine in their water and something called Diatomaceous Earth.  Interesting enough, this stuff is so sharp it will cut worms and parasites in half and kill them.  They have been dust bathing it it as well as eating it.

They seem to be doing much better and they seem very happy with the new layout of the coop and the run.

Then the meat chickens now have the other entire run to themselves.  They are very happy with that arrangement.  I am supposed to take them in to the butcher next week but they are pretty little yet.  I would have to use 3 of them to make a meal for us!

The meat chickens are an interesting creature.  They live to eat. Literally.  Whatever food I put out, they will eat.  And they are voracious eaters!  Then, everything they are fed goes right into growth.  Everything!  I have purposely fed them a bit less so that they grow a bit slower.  Last years bunch I fed too much too often and they grew too fast. I ended up with leg problems in several.  They could not even stand because their legs hadn’t been able to keep up with their growth rate.  Which, as I am finding out on my own, and through reading,  their skeletons and internal organs actually cannot keep up with the rapid growth rate.  They have been known to just die because their hearts cannot keep up.

The meat chickens now taking over the brooder pen.
The meat chickens now taking over the brooder pen.

In a way, I am kind of creeped out by this creature we have created.  These animals cannot stop eating until the food is gone.  Naturally, animals and people will stop eating when they are satisfied.  I just was searching around for some information about these chickens and was surprised to find an article by a man who seems to know his stuff, he has a long list of speaking engagements listed on his website and has written a book about poultry raising that looks actually really good.

Anyways, there was a rant there on his site about the cornish cross that we have created just because we want the larger breast meat.  He has written about the problems with the hybrid breed and has switched back to just raising the dual purpose breeds that are healthier, tastier and more able to adapt.  It has been something in the back of my mind for a while now, but wasn’t sure what to else to do..

Here is the link if you want to check it out for yourself.  Actually, kind of interesting..

Sorry- I couldn’t recall how to actually post the link correctly so you could just click it. You will have to cut n paste if you really want to look at it.  He has lot of good information on here are homesteading.  If you are interested, it is worth your time I thought.

Anyways, here is a rather long post about my chickens.  Currently at a population of 54.

It has been actually quite a learning experience for me.  So thanks for sticking with me through this kind of long post about chickens!! heehee…  Be sure to ask me for some eggs sometime when they start laying good again, especially, if you made it this far in the article!!

Blessings..

Vicki

 

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One thought on “Here a Chick, There a Chick…..

  1. Oh, those chickens are BEAUTIFUL!! Love the black and white ones with the red accents!! I’m so impressed! I can only handle taking care of my dogs and chinchilla…hahaha!

    Like

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