The Farm-Hatched Chicks are coming on three weeks of age.. they are a barnyard mix, seven chicks hatched out from under momma hen.
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..
Yes even the frankenbirds should be bright, cheerful and energetic- once they reach the five or six pound mark they do ‘slow down’ a bit. At that point I watch for ones that may be sitting more than they’re standing and eating – and get them moving and watch they’re not having trouble walking. Some of our cockerels top the nine pound mark at slaughter – and sometimes we’ll slaughter the heavy ones a week or so ahead of the rest. 😊
good to know and great info to have on the older.. thank VB
I will be interested to see how the “frankenbirds” work out for you. Last year was our first year to try meat chickens and we couldn’t take the plunge and go for it with them. We got rangers instead.
i will keep sharing how it goes and I am hard tracking costs so will have price per pound for the meat etc
We grew frankenbirds a couple of times many years ago and they were fine when very young but did grow dull and not very mobile. However my local farmer grew them for the first time last year and really liked them. Didn’t find them at all like my experience and like you commented a lot on their friendliness. They’ve had laying chickens for years and were nervous about frankenbirds but ended up really pleased with the results. Perhaps breeding has improved in the years since I had them.
thanks so much for the feed back cricket, that’s helpful to hear how it went for them.. I will keep sharing how it goes
You’re a great chick-mum! 😀