Farm Friday Debut: Chicken Journal 6/21/12

This is a new feature here at MarriedtotheFarm.  I hope to make it a series but I’m not going to promise anything because, well, we all know how it goes when I commit to blogging regularly.  I thought it’d be fun to update on our chicks as we take them from fuzzy balls of fluff to high quality meat.  We raise at least 100 chickens every summer to provide meat for our own family and several of our customers.  We’ve had excellent feedback and a lot of repeat customers.

The birds we raise are Colored Rangers.  They are a mix of old-fashioned breeds selected to grow fast but not as fast as the freakishly large Cornish breed that most people raise.  We have raised this breed exclusively here and are very happy with them.  They are lively and prefer foraging and running around in the grass over laying  by the feeders.  We start them out in a sheltered area under a heat lamp and then move them out to pasture when they have all their feathers.  I’ll attempt to follow along with one batch of birds here starting with the day they arrive on the farm.

Even though these birds are not Cornish crosses they are still a hybrid, which means they are the end product of crossbreeding different types of birds.  This means that two Colored Rangers bred together will not produce offspring of their same quality.  Imagine breeding two mutt dogs and getting the cutest litter of super-mutts.  Breeding the super-mutts together would probably not make more of the same.  For this reason, we order our Colored Ranger chicks from a hatchery and do not attempt to breed them on the farm.

Stats as of 6/21/12:

  • Age: 1 day old
  • Number alive: 102
  • Death Loss so far: 0
  • Location: Brooder

They normally arrive via 2-day shipping through the USPS.  They leave the hatchery on Wednesday and our local post office calls me very early on Friday morning so I can pick them up.  This time I was surprised to have the them hand delivered to the farm on Thursday afternoon by a nice postal worker in a minivan.  Apparently they had arrived at the larger city office that day and were being delivered right away due to the very hot weather.

I carefully opened the boxes and lifted one chick out at a time, counting as I went.  I dipped their beaks in the water quickly before setting them down to ensure they knew were the water was.  They didn’t waste any time drinking.

They quickly found the food on their own.

I left them happily scurrying about.

If you have any  questions about how we raise our chickens please contact the farm directly through www.BeckerFarmsMI.com.  I don’t intend for this to be a how-to guide but I will happy answer questions from other growers who have specific questions or need help with certain problems.

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