The chicken operation expands! Here’s the count as of today:
26 Cornish Cross (meat birds) living in the Salatin style chicken tractor; ready to process in a few weeks. They are filling out nicely, putting on both weight and feathers, and so have become much less awkward looking recently.
14 Red Sex Link layer hens (and Steve the Rooster) living in the barn with a door to the an enclosed pasture. We got our first egg a few days ago, and one every day since!
46 Cornish Cross and 24 male Rhode Island Red living in the newly built “Wheely Coop” in the pasture the cows just vacated.
Nathan also bought 20 layer chicks from Tractor Supply because they were on clearance. 10 Americana (“I can’t wait to have blue eggs!” says he) and 10… of a mystery breed. No idea what they gave us. It’ll be fun to figure out! These twenty birds are currently completely free range, since they need to be integrated with the other flocks at some point, and weare running out of places to put birds (fancy that). Their ‘homebase’ (a dog crate with water and food for them) is located in the Red Sex link pasture, but they are left free to be able to escape any hostile advances of the older birds by hopping through the non-energized electric poultry netting. It’s so fun to see them jumping through the tall grass after grasshoppers and crickets!
50 Rhode Island Red pullets (baby hens) and 25 Cornish Cross males just arrived a few days ago and are living in the “brooder box” with the heating pads keeping them nice and cozy.
We’ve lost a few of the chicks we ordered from the hatchery, which is always a bit sad. One of the larger meat birds wasn’t doing well for a while; he seemed smaller than the others and lethargic, unable to muscle through the other birds to get food for himself. So though we put him in his own little spot with food and water, and he hung on for a little while, he finally succumbed to whatever ailed him.
Another of the meat birds somehow got a scrape under its left wing. We treated it with peroxide and antibiotic ointment so it wouldn’t get infected, and he seems to be doing just fine now.
Total the final count is… 206. Though this seems like a LOT of birds (and it is!), we’ve got a bit larger plan for next year: 300 laying hens at any given time, and a goal of about 2,000 meat birds processed throughout the year, God willing!