Yep.. A new batch is arriving soon at the ol’ homestead..
Meat chickens. Disgusting creatures really, but OH SO YUMMY!!!
They will be adorable for a few weeks, with their sweet yellow downy feathers. Then they start to change over and, like most adolescents, have an ugly stage for a bit. Finally, they will be white feathered eating machines! That is pretty much all they will be doing. For the rest of their short little lives. In about 8 weeks, they will be butchered to be put into my freezer for dinner.
Chicks are pretty easy to care for. I will put them into a container for the first little while. Then prepare a more permanent solution for them. We have a pen in the rabbit house that I will have to scrub out and add the heat lamp and feed and water places. Unless we decide to use another place for them.
I should have a thermometer in their to keep track of the temp because it needs to be about 90-95 for them to begin with. I usually just keep an eye on the chicks. If they are bunched up away from the lamp, its to hot. If they are bunched up under the lamp, its too cold. So far, its worked pretty well.
I start them out on a chick starter feed. Sometimes I get the one with the antibiotic in it because on occasion, we have gotten coccidiosis which can make them really sick and die. Usually though, they have done well and thrived. Keeping the coop reasonable clean is usually enough.
When they arrive, I will dip each beak into the water dish so that they can find it later on when they need it. Today, they have had kind of a busy day, as they will have arrived at the feed mill, squashed into a box so they stay warm enough, after just hatching a day or two ago. They will be really thirsty by the time they arrive. I add a vitamin powder to their water. I will periodically add some essential oils like Lemon or Thieves if they are looking unhealthy. Another thing I will add is apple cider vinegar, which is another thing to keep them healthy without adding the antibiotics. I don’t really want to add antibiotics unless its absolutely necessary. We don’t use antibiotics here unless its absolutely necessary, why would I put it into my meat?
Ok- time to go get ready for the new babies to arrive!
Here are some pics of the process to get them settled in this morning.
The box they are packed in.. 31 babies..
The stock tank is what I decided to use until they get a bit bigger. It is actually a perfect size for this amount.
Dipping their beaks into the water.
Everybody is officially out of the box. All but one took the trip well. Lots of thirsty chicks!!