July 15, 2010

Meat Chicken Update

My Meat chickens are now 4 weeks old. They are out of the cute fuzzy baby stage and onto the awkward teens years. I'll show them to you but promise not to stare. Kind of like that kid in class with the BIG zit on his nose. He knows that you know it is there. There is no need to make him feel more awkward than he does already.

First...Put on some big rubber boots. They kind of swarm when food is coming. Again...teenagers. The trick is to run faster then they do and get one of the troughs filled. They ALL pile on top of each other for a nibble. The smart ones stay back and wait for the 3 other troughs to be filled. Unfortunately these smart ones also tend to be the smaller ones and when the big kids..I mean chickens find out what they are up to they beat them up and take their lunch. No I'm not kidding. Yes I am. No I'm not.

Anyway whatever my point is (because I forgot) the boots are needed. Crocs are NOT good. Too many holes and way too many pointy beaks. They like nail polish by the way. They peck at it. Want to know why?? Same principle when one of the weaker birds gets a tiny cut and bleeds a little. All the other teens...I mean chickens peck at it until it dies. Nice eh??
So Y'a. Pink Crocs are not a good choice. Trust me on this one. Yes I'm wearing a skirt. We covered that in another post.

So here they are. 102 chickens eating at the same time from 4 different feeders. I got smart this year and bought the PROPER feeders and the right NUMBER of feeders. This way all the birds can eat at the same time without stepping on the weaker ones. At this point they do NOT have all their feathers (I told you not to stare). They eat 25kgs of feed every two days, and 15 litres of water daily. I'm taking the pictures while I fill up the water. This year I also got smart and raised the waterer up to the height of their backs. This stops them from scratching the shavings and poop into it.
At this point the coop has LAYERS of poop and shavings. Probably a few inches. It does not smell too bad as there is a giant window in the coop, I keep the door open and I have built a little outside yard for them to wander into. Soon they will have LOTS of grass to eat and I can't wait.

I know. The yard is ugly and I used junk, but it was better than having them cooped up and sitting in their poop. I ordered a 50 meter fence that I will be able to move allowing them to eat all the grass and bugs they want. I am VERY excited about it. The more natural the better.
Oh, and that yellow bench? It is my summer project that will most likely never get done. We found furniture on the side of the road and plan on sanding it down, painting it and putting it around the fire pit. For now it makes a great fence.

Now that you are all updated on my meat chickens, let's mosey over and look at what my new layers have.....

Cute eh? They should start laying ANY day now. This is the LONGEST I've gone without regular egg production. My babies are taking longer than I expected and the old gals are either not laying or they are laying somewhere on the farm and I have yet to find the spot.

I also put new feeders in the layers coops. The rat problem was caused by feed spillage from not using the proper feeders. No longer. Also, new feeders were cheaper than rat poison.

My babies better be comfortable in their new coop and nesting boxes. This is the hole to allow them into their outdoor pen. The coop is also well insulated from drafts thanks to my husband.

And below are the old gals in their swanky looking coop. I only get 2-4 eggs a day from them these days. The problem is that I'm not sure which of the 15 or so chickens is still laying. The plan is to grab them when I see them on a nest and throw them in with the new layers and see what happens.

Aha!!! Gotcha!!!

I grabbed her and put her with the new girls. She doen't look too happy. It also looks like the younger ones are swarming her. They pick on the new gal until the pecking order is established. Kids these days. I find it funny.
I don't think this chicken thinks it is so funny and I suppose I didn't like it as a teenager either. Now I feel bad. O.K I'll take her out.

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