Our broiler chicks have become…chickens. They are getting to be huge. We are having a much better experience with them this (our second year) time. Last year about half died. I am not sure why. It was a cold and very rainy spring. I also put them out in the field and out of the brooding area 10 days like a book I had read said I could. I didn’t have any experience, so I had to trust somebody. Anyway with all of the rain and cooler temperatures, the chickens didn’t do well. Every time we went out to care for them it seemed that something was wrong. Their legs were giving out on them which would lead to death in a few hours or we would go out and another one would be dead. It was awful. We only were able to keep 13 out of 25 alive until butchering day. After the trauma of this it took a couple of weeks to try our first chicken. Once I tasted how soft and tender they were I knew I wanted to try again.
This year we ordered another 25 roosters, just like last year. So far, only one died, it was about 2 days old. I don’t know what happened, but it must have been weak from the start. I changed many things this year from last year. Experience is a very good teacher. This year I kept the chicks under the brooder lights for 3 and a half weeks as compared to the week and a half that the book suggested. I did this just to let them have time to get stronger and not have to face the elements so early in their lives. Second, there hasn’t been near the rain as there was last year. I didn’t have any control over that. Third, I gave them the vitamin stress pack electrolytes with each watering until it was all used up. Last year I just used it here and there whenever I thought of it.
This year has been a much better experience. I am hopeful to do it again next year. I am excited to get all of those chickens in the freezer. It is so nice to always have meat that you raised, and know what it has been fed, how they were taken care of, available for the coming year. We will have a freezer full in less than a week! Yahoo!