Our neighbor is increasing their laying flock this year. I’m so excited for them!! Their original flock of six are no longer producing as many eggs, which happens as chickens age. This will be their first time brooding chicks. We have some experience, although limited, and have offered to help out how ever we can.
Two years ago we decided to raise our own meat chickens after learning it took about eight weeks for a Cornish Rock Cross to reach a decent butcher weight. We ordered 50 chicks that April and set up a place in the garage to brood them. Rod made a nifty two foot high ring which we covered with sheets to keep heat in and drafts out. One little guy appears to be a stickler for the correct temperature.
By the third week they began to develop their wing and tail feathers . . . by the forth week they were ready to get out into the fresh air, and we were glad to have the dust and smell out of the garage!!
After a good deal of research Rod built our first chicken tractor. This is the term used for a portable pen/coop. The first week we got by with moving it every couple of days. By the second week we moved it daily and even twice a day the last couple of weeks.
They created a good deal of fertilizer which is why we grazed this first batch up near our house. The lawn was in dire need of good organic nutrients – WOW did it grow and green up after that!!
Brooding chicks is a fair bit of work, which is why we were excited last Mother’s Day when one of our Delaware’s decided not get off the nest. Rod built her a nice quiet broody box, we the set a dozen fertilized eggs under her and about 21 days later the hatching began. This was great no heat lamps or special pen needed. The hen keeps the chicks warm . . .
and teaches them to forage. She is such a good Mama!!
I just love my chickens –