Sorry for the delay, Folks. The Mulder fam went camping for a week and a half- and I did not take the chickens or the computer with me. I did manage to take some pictures before we left (top: 5 weeks old), and then some today (bottom: 7 weeks old). The 6th week is gone forever… with their baby feathers. I was shocked to find them all looking like full-grown birds upon our return. No more junior high… these peeps are varsity now.
I’m not sure if you know this, but chickens aren’t the brightest of the animal kingdom. It’s fine. They don’t have to do my taxes or anything, but MAN if they could just figure out that sleeping IN the coop is so. much. safer. than perching outside. Every night after dusk I shoo/herd/man-handle the 10 or so rebels that nestle down just outside the coop window and put them inside for safe-keeping. Granted, they are getting a bit crowded for the mini-coop, and I need to work on an overflow area so they can be contained but roomy after dark.
They are so much heavier/denser than my egg layers. It’s wild. They continue to burn through the feed- at least 50# every 5 days. It’s all in one barrel now, so I can no longer keep track of bags depleted. I know I bought 1 bag of starter mash and 14 bags of broiler mash all total. We’ll see what’s left at the end… if any. Now that they are old enough to graze and wander, they’ve added grass and hay and bugs and veggie scraps to their diet.
I think they’re pretty happy. Stinky (as we all are after bedding down with 49 of our closest friends for 2 months), but happy.
These bottom pictures crack me up. If they look like they’re ticked at me, it’s because they are. It’s beautiful afternoon here and they simply don’t want to be bothered with photo shoots.
Annnnnnd, we’ve reached the month mile-marker. 50 chicks, all still happy, all still sassy. Their sass is actually increasing to compensate for the awkwardness they feel in losing their baby feathers. There’s a bit of Saved By the Bell action going on in there… lots of posturing, lots of flapping, lots of mischief.
This week, they’ve killed another 50# bag of feed and I have officially let them out of the circular pen to wander at will during daylight. They still choose to stay close to the water and mound of grain but are learning to explore and peck with each day. It’s hard to remember they’re only a month old… they’re enormous!
Our chicks are now 2 weeks old and SASSY. Non-blurry photos are almost impossible… these guys are so active now! They are already so much bigger than your average egg-layer chick. You can feel the muscles in their little bodies under all that fluff. As of today, they have finished their first 50# bag of food.
The first picture is just a quick snap… it was taken immediately after I had to chase 45 of them down in my yard when they escaped their outdoor pen fencing. I thought, incorrectly, that they would be too big to fit through the holes. I was immediately and shamefully proven wrong. Never fear: everyone is reluctantly back in the coop. Tomorrow, I will head out to the farm store for supplies to make them a nice, portable, lightweight, and un-escapable outdoor pen so they can graze at-will.
Regular Monday/Thursday postings are on a little break for awhile, but I wanted to pop in and let you know that the 55 Freedom Ranger chicks for our first Old School class arrived this morning!
At 5:45am. Yes, ma’am.
They arrive by priority mail (naturally) in a ventilated cardboard box. Chicks can survive for 2 days without food or water, thanks to the super-duper eggshell they are born in. Eggs are amazing. This allows them to be shipped pretty much anywhere. These chicks were born Wednesday at 9am and were sitting at the post office bright and early this morning.
We chose Freedom Rangers (awesome name) from Pennsylvania. (website HERE) They’ll grow with us for 10 weeks and then they’ll become, sigh, food. That’s it. Ten weeks. These birds grow crazy fast. We outfitted the mini-coop with a sliding plexi-glass window/door that allows for easy viewing. In 3 weeks, the chicks will be allowed to graze outside and then return to the coop for bed.
So, come on out and visit! They’ll be here until Saturday, September 24th. Bring your own chair because it doesn’t look like these kiddos are moving any time soon!