Raising Broilers on Pasture – Week 1

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We order the chickens from a small hatchery in Ohio. Believe it or not they mail the freshly hatched chicks to our post office where our good friends will call us after they enjoy their fix of the “peep, peep, peeps”. Who doesn’t love baby peepers?!

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For those who may be worried about mailing live animals. It is completely safe! When chicks are born, they have enough nutrients in their stomachs to survive for 3 days.

As soon as we get them home, we get them into the prepped brooder. Our brooder is designed to grow with the chickens. There are 3 sections for each batch. The first section is about 8 square feet, the second totals 16 square feet, the final section becomes the full 32 square foot area.

The night before the chickens are expected to arrive, we set up pine shavings, waterers, feeders, and heat lamps when needed depending on the weather. We remove them from their box one at a time and show them where the water is by dipping their beaks into the water trough. Typically, once a few figure it out, they all follow suit, however we put every chicks beak into the water just to be sure they all know where to get water. They soon find the feed and snuggle into a nap.

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You may notice they like to cuddle to each other. This is completely normal and okay as they have limited body fat to keep them warm. However, if they are piled on top of each other they are too cold or if they are all spread put they are too hot.

If they are too warm, try to increase air flow. If they are too cold, try to contain the air around them. This can be a fire hazard so make sure nothing touches the lamps and you monitor the area closely.

Be sure to keep the water filled and the feeder full. Like humans, the baby stage is crucial in developing into big, strong birds.

We feed and water twice a day; removing the old water and feed and filling with new.

 

Continue to week 3…

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