Last week, we headed out bright and early to pick up the hatchery chicks, 50 meat chicks, 12 brown egg layers and 10 turkey pullets. They arrived on time and in a good shipping box…
Hubby shook his head at me as I checked everything single chick or pullet and dipped their beaks at least twice, checked beaks, checked legs, checked feet on each one..
I had mixed feelings during this process.. all the chicks were perfect.. as a breeder, I know that not all the chicks hatched perfect.. I paid good money and I got good value that part is true.. but its like I said to hubby.. I have a gut check on what happened to those that did not make the grade.
Of course, then I had to shake my head and give myself .. FG.. stop it.. you know that you cull and put down your own hatched chicks that do not make the grade. I am that hard nosed breeder that says.. Cull.. dang it..
Its such a strange thing, I think its because I know I do it with respect and care and I have heard that is not the case or perhaps not the case for the ones I bought from.. this makes me uncomfortable.. I am ok with that.. I think I would give myself the eye if I did not feel that that way..
But with a few things to note..
First the Turkey pullets were NOT day old’s they already had colored feathered out wing tips, they were somewhere around 2 to 4 days old at a min.. when introduced to food and water then clearly had been eating before shipping.
Second, I had two laying hen chicks that were dull, they just were off, I marked them in the box and I was not wrong.. One of them went down in the first day (I am positive something was wrong with it internally as it tried to eat but choked and gagged when doing so) the second one however recovered and is doing well.
Now on to the White Rock Meat Chicks.. those quote franken birds.. I have read about them but never raised them, never owned them..
The first thing I noticed is that they are active bright happy chicks, I do not know why but I had it in my mind that they would be dull chicks, or slow chicks or just different somehow..
The one thing they are is crazy friendly.. most little chicks are naturally ekkk until they learn your voice and that you are a force of good in their world. These little WRock have been some of the friendly chicks I have ever worked with.. they just declared me awesome from the moment they meet me.
I did lose one of them in the first 36 hours, at first I thought it was rapid onset pasty butt which had me checking everyone else but it was just the one chick and It prolapsed and had passed away when I found it..
The other 49 are growing.. man do they feather out fast and they are just eating machines, they adore their feeders and waters but they do explore their space, they do play with their toys, they do like to nip at the greens put in the pen and they like their grass clumps..
In a nut shell, they like and respond to things like a “chick” does.. this makes me happy, I worried a touch that I might find myself unhappy having chosen to raise them as I have heard so many stories about them being these slow things that eat and sit and that’s it..
So its lovely at least now to see them come running for their greens, and being very happy sounding chicks.
however they are growing so fast, they are feathering out at fast rate and they have huge breasts on them even as week old’s and such massive legs and feet.. they are the big foot of chicks.. I have never seen such big feet on such wee babies.
I will try and get you photos.. I will split the biggest (males) from the smaller (females or slower growing) at the three week mark and run two pens of them.. so they have more room per bird as they grow and so I can keep a closer eye on them, smaller numbers allow me to see things faster.
The turkey pullets and the older and younger laying chicks are in their own pens.. It’s been cool enough that we have had to run two heat lamps in the one pen just to give more space and avoid crowding.. Its been better during the day but they are sure using their lamps in the evening and night.
This has added to my chore time a bit and I have added in a third check mid day for the first week. that one is just a peek more then anything.. just listening gives you a lot of answers and peeking in without opening pens to see how they are doing..