Sunday, May 17, 2009

Five Weeks Old

New Meat Locker

That sounds really crass! I predator-proofed the middle section of my barn this past week and moved 45 chickens and 7 turkeys in, (all of them about five weeks old). They were a little overwhelmed with all of the space at first, but are now happily nosing around in all of the new corners.

The white birds in the photo below are the cornish X breed. These guys are twice as large as the red broilers I am experimenting with. I have heard that the red broilers are tastier, even though they don't grow as quickly as the cornish chicks. I bought the red broilers from Ideal Poultry, and they are growing well. I am going to try to give them a little outside time and see how they like that. Last fall, I butchered out some extra, (annoying) six month old roosters, and they were as tough as shoe leather. I think the free-ranging gave them a little too much body-building time.


In the photo below, you can see three white turkeys and a bronze at the far right. They are very curious and like to follow me around. I am glad I found a butcher, because I am not enjoying the "processing" part of raising chickens.
The two very dark chickens in the photo are barnevelder hens. They will lay very dark brown eggs, beginning sometime in late August.
This turkey hung around Ruth while she snapped photos.


Don't look closely at the chicken wire! I discovered that I am really bad at getting it straight. After I made that discovery, I started to not care too! So, the coop is secure, but certainly not a mona lisa. (This is a short-term coop anyway!) There, that makes me feel better.

To make the coop look even better, I only had four foot chicken wire, and overlapped it. Then I ran out of chicken wire altogether and didn't feel like buying more, so I cut a section of hardware cloth to fill in the last little opening. I connected them with nylon zip ties. Wow! I'm thinking "coop of the year!"



Poopy eggs
The nice man who gave me the blue slate turkey eggs pictured below reminded me that washing them would be bad for the developing embryos, so I didn't. Aren't they just lovely? That is a nice mixture of mud and poo. I hope THAT isn't bad for the developing embryos too!!
Hatch day is Wednesday, May 20!






34 comments:

henbogle said...

Thank God for zip ties. We use them everywhere, they hold my LIFE together! The chickens are looking good. I'll be curious to hear your comparison of the red broilers and the Cornish cross chickens.
Ali

Garden Girl said...

Hope they all hatch ok. Babies are so lovely, no matter what they are - except baby slugs perhaps. And maggots...

How is your sunflower field going? How many hundred are you growing? Can we have a photo update on them, please?

Anonymous said...

I am new to this but I didn't know that you could have chickens and turkeys in the same environment. I thought there was some disease that the chickens would give the turkeys. Am I wrong? Would you do a post on this?

Carol said...

I worked on a horse breeding farm in the '70 and my boss bought 100 chicks for me to raise. Only lost 2. Had a great time. Didnt get any pretty eggs like you do. They should make a great selection at Easter.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

Little Sparrow - Natural Toys & Handwork Supplies said...

i am so envious of all your space don.... i would love to have my own green barn, instead i have a broken green shed! Regardless my pekins are happy...life in inner city melbourne means i can only have 6 chooks...i would love to have 45 like you, they all look very happy in their crooked enclosure, well done! shelley

julie king said...

love your ingenious way of making do!! and all the chicks are growing so quickly. i'm trying to imagine the sound in the coop when they are all running around doing the bird sounds. hee hee

Jen's Farmily said...

I wish I had known that about washing the eggs! I was concerned that the poo and yolk on my broody's eggs would be bad for them, so I (gently) washed them off using a washcloth! AHH!!

Maybe they'll still pull through!

I love your little turkey that followed Ruth around. Too cute!

RiverBend Farm said...

Don't you just love watching those silly birds growing and getting their own personalities. And I love Ideal Poultry... fortunately, I live close enough to go pick mine up.

freefalling said...

Don, let's talk poo.
I still haven't decided if I am going to get some chickens.
I live on a average size suburban block - will I be over-run by chook poo?

Janine said...

I love zip ties! Wow you are raising red broilers this year? We did them last year, but we do have to say they take longer to raise, eat as much as the cornish x and are a lot tougher meat. We are not raising cornish x this year or reds because of all the money and processing involved. It is just not cost effective. I do miss turkeys though, I may have to get a couple of those for our table this year! Just don't let them get too big! We had a few that we couldn't even fit in the oven! HA

Bob Johnson said...

Very cool Don, cute little turkeys now, and poopy eggs,lol.

Sunny said...

I will be waiting to hear when the slate blur turkeys harch - how exciting!

Don said...

henbogle: i agree about the zip ties. they are brilliant

I too am interested in seeing how the chickens turn out. I'll be sure to post my/our reactions!

Don said...

garden girl: babies are cute. I'm sure fly mamas think their little maggots are adorable.

I have about three hundred sunflowers under growing lights right now and am planting them this weekend. I also have about 1500 more seeds to scatter around in various plots. I hope they bloom in time!! These are supposed to be in full bloom in 60 days.

Don said...

anon: i have heard that rumor about chickens and turkeys too, and have done some reading about it. It seems to be somewhat of a myth. I have talked to several poultry growers and they have them mixed together with no problems. I have also seen some research that says there is no connection. Mine are only together until June, then the chickens go into the freezer.

Don said...

carol: that must have been quite a handful to have 100 chicks to mess with. Only two lost is really good!

Don said...

little sparrow: sometimes having 6 hens sounds pretty good!! my life will get a little easier when the meat chickens have run their course.

Don said...

julie: depending on the time of day, you can hear very different sounds. Mid-morning, when then hens are lining up for their favorite nesting box, they start bawking up a storm. Sometimes I'll have ten of them all yelling at each other. It actually sounds funny.

Khan must be driving the neighbors a lottle crazy with his very loud and excellent crow.

Don said...

jen: your eggs should be fine. I think you would need to worry if you scrubbed all of the protective film off.

Don said...

riverbend: it is fun to watch these little creatures grow and develop into spazzy little personalities

Don said...

freefalling: you won't be buried in poo! You need to find a neighbor who is a gardene. They will fight over your poo.

Don said...

janine: thanks for the input. i am interested in seeing what differences there will be. a big factor for me is what the chickens eat, and how they lived.

Don said...

bob: poopy, that's a great third grade word!

Don said...

sunny: they started pipping Monday night! I should be seeing baby turkeys Tuesday!

The Thinker said...

I LOVE your chicken coop. And, I love making do with what I've got. I made a rabbit shed out of junk i had laying around the yard and it recently withstood a hail storm with wind gusts up to 70 mph.

Be proud of your industriousness! :)

Cassandra

Susan said...

Don, your coop work looks some of my cobbled-up work! I should have taken pics of the mess my coop was this winter when I was trying to provide some shelter from the cold and wind.

The chickens are lookin' good! Turkeys, too! I've already picked out mine! If I had that many broiler/fryers to process, I would be taking them to someone, too. Who am I kidding? If I had ONE, I would be taking it somewhere. Although I did read about a method that is a lot less stressful on you and the chicken, if you're interested, I can send you a link.

Stiggy said...

Poo - shmoo...

...don't you worry about that stuff matey - as with most things - it's what's INSIDE that counts! ;)

Don't worry about the wire either Don, as I always say - if it does what it's supposed to do - job's a goodun!

:D

Lanny said...

I love your coop, it makes you so real! You need to polish it off with a little orange bailing twine then you can be baptized into Hickdom. We are cardinals in Hickdom, thank you very much! Everything around here was going to be temporary, that's why it is still here, it's the permanant stuff that gets hit by a tree or ran into by the child driven tractor!

I like that you dub your meat bird housing the meat locker, keeps everything in perspective doesn't it?!

I long ago found dispair at the hands (and it has several) of chicken wire. I have convinced myself that it is worthless stuff, then I don't feel so bad buying the more expensive cooperative stuff. Cheap can be mean!

So what does your processor charge? I remembered that the place that does our beef and sometimes lamb, wasn't all that expensive, until we checked his current prices. The bad thing about being old and having good long term memory? Things are now really really expensive!

Have a great week and I hope you are winning the "to do" list battle.

Sandy said...

I love that third to the bottom photo with the light streaming in. Enjoyed the post.

aliciajane said...

We did finally get the chicks and build a coop... it has been quite an adventure! Looks like you have your hands quite full.

LynnS said...

I just found your website and have enjoyed reading about your projects and dreams.

Chickens and turkeys raised in very close proximity (or raised together) do cause health problems but since you are raising them in an unused area, they should be fine provided they were healthy upon arrival.

I'll be getting my Cornish X in mid-June. When yours get a bit older, their breast areas will become so large they will have problems walking -- they are 'front heavy'. Since they will not balance properly, it would be prudent to restrict their grow-out area. They are known to break legs in their last weeks when they have too much room to attempt to walk. Also, to grow them out faster, you don't really want them to burn off that expensive feed, so for a better feed-to-meat conversion ratio, a small pen would be more frugal.

I hope this helps. Love your green barn!!
Lynn
http://woodridge.wordpress.com
http://fiberfantasies.wordpress.com

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Don't worry about the wire, they look comfy and happy and that is the main thing.

I think if I had someone to do the nasty part I would raise chickens and turkeys for meat as well, but I am just not up to the killing part once I have taken care of something.

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