Monday, October 24, 2011

Chick Check, Week Seven

Yeah, I'm a few days late on this week's Chick Check.  We've had several cool nights last week, Thursday night dipping into the lower 30's, but it was almost 80 yesterday & supposed to be again today.  The Cornish haven't seemed to be any worse for the wear and are just as crazed and insane every morning when they seem me coming to fill up their feed pans.

I haven't been able to actually weigh any of them (try putting a live chicken on a kitchen scale), but I'm pretty sure they are still pretty small for being seven weeks old.  I've only been feeding them two or three times a day, usually waiting until there is absolutely no scrap of feed in the pans.  But maybe I should be feeding them more often as they seem to act starving every time I toss food in their pen, even though there might be some left in the pan.  I've also been giving them whey, but I may start giving them milk too.

We might have to keep them for more than eight weeks in order to get a suitable sized bird.  Especially since there are only nine roosters out of twenty-five.  Pretty crummy hen to rooster ratio.  You really don't want roosters if you're raising egg laying breeds unless you're going to be raising your own chicks, and even then you really don't need more than one rooster for every 10-13 hens.  But if you're raising meat birds, roosters are what you want.  They grow faster and larger therefore you're able to butcher them earlier.
Eight weeks is the ideal time to butcher the Cornish crosses, but with our low rooster numbers and the fact that they just don't seem to be filling out as quickly as the last few batches we had, I think they will be with us until the middle of November.
My Barnyard Mutts are doing well.  No missing or dead chicks and they are much easier to care for.  They are still in the kidding pen and I've been able to hold off for two weeks before I had to clean their pen.  They don't poop half as much as the Cornish and actually scratch around in the bedding so the wet stuff has a chance to dry out.  There are nineteen Barnyard Mutts, and I think only six of them are roosters.  There is also a little banty chicken in the bunch and I think it's a hen.  I though I'd have to separate her from the rest of them because she is so much smaller than everyone else, but she's holding her own.  She's spunky enough to even barge right between two larger chickens to get to the feed trays without getting pecked much.

The Barnyard Mutts will probably stay in the barn for a few more months.  Then I'll take a slat out of the door so they can go in & out on their own, and eventually block access to that area and hope they figure out that they have to go into the other side of the barn to roost at night. 
Well, that's the theory anyhow.

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who raised some Cornish and she "grew" them slower than suggested to avoid the stress on them of getting big so fast. She felt that they were healthier at the end because of it.