Saturday, May 27, 2017

We Bought a Farm: It's Chicken Season Again!

It is so incredible to think that it is time for our THIRD poultry season. On Thursday morning, the baby chickens arrived. We have about 180 meat birds and about 50 laying hens. (We have previously done 150 birds.) We will do a second batch of these in July.

As you watch the videos and see all the pictures, the yellow birds are the meat birds. The laying birds are the colorful ones (or ones that are not yellow). They will take a much longer time to work their way up to where they are big enough to join our current laying hens out in the fields.

JB had specifically taken a few days off to make sure he was off for the chickens arrival. However, their arrival was delayed two days, and he was at work. So Dad, our intern Jacob, myself, and the kids took over.

We have to carefully count the birds and then hand them individually to someone sitting inside the brooder. Each chicken must be "dunked" in water so that they know where the water is and how to drink. These chickens, the moment they are hatched, are shipped priority mail to us. They arrive being able to survive on what they have eaten inside the egg prior to hatching.

They will spend two weeks inside this temperature controlled brooder. At that point, they will move into chicken tractors and be rotated onto fresh grass 2-3 times a day.

First up: two videos of the kids helping to separate and hand the chickens over into the brooder:

The chickens arrive in a box with four sections. Each section has about 20-25 chickens in it. These are the beautiful laying birds. We were very happy to see that we did not have a single dead bird in the boxes!

A picture of another quadrant of our laying hens.

Laying hens

Jacob got comfortable on a bucket in the brooder.

Here he is dunking chicken #1!

Isaac helping to count and separate the laying chickens.

He loves the chickens!

Abigail was counting down the days to chicken-arrival day. She was so excited to see all the baby chickens. This year she is big enough to reach into the brooder and handle the chickens which is incredibly exciting for her.

Helping Hannah hold the chickens gently.

Sidge passing off a chicken to Jacob. Check out all those chickens flocking his feet.

Chickens, chickens everywhere! 

They actually have a TON of room in this brooder. They are all occupying one small section of the brooder until they feel more comfortable spreading out.

**** Edited to add: as always, I respect people who choose not to eat meat! However, I won't be entertaining comments about our choice to eat meat. We believe that raising our meat in a humane way is truly the best thing we can do for our planet and that choosing to be a vegetarian also comes with issues. This post perfectly represents how we feel about vegetarianism. We are absolutely a-ok with vegetarians and respect their choice and ask that thy also respect our choice. I delete any vegetarian comments.


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Debbie said...

I love seeing the baby chickens! It looks like Jacob had to be careful not to move his feet. :)