Thursday, July 8, 2010

Growing Chicks




Three weeks ago our "Freedom Ranger" chicks were fluff balls. Now they are partially feathered out and ready for the move from the brooder box to the elegant accommodation of the pasture chicken tractor.
 
Their rate of growth and those outsize legs make it clear that these are broiler chicks, destined for the table.
For now they're confined in the tractor but John will string an electrified netting to make an adjoining paddock.  In a few days, when they've gotten used to the chicken tractor, the door will be opened and the chicks will have a much expanded area to scratch and peck.

 Kate the donkey is watching the whole operation with interest.

22 comments:

Martin H. said...

They certainly do grow at a 'rate of knots', don't they?

Bernie said...

Gosh I have always loved chicken but after looking at these chicks I am not sure I will be able to eat chicken anymore. Have a great Thursday my friend.....:-) Hugs

Pat in east TN said...

Wow, those chicks have really grown! Electrified netting ... new to me and sounds interesting.

Brian Miller said...

ah your chickys are growing up quick...so cool. my boys would love this...

Merisi said...

Those chicks really have a good life there!
How are they coping with the heat?
Or is it not as hot as along the coast?

Kaye Barley said...

awwwwwww - i love these babies!

Vicki Lane said...

It's unbelievable, Martin.

I know what you mean, Bernie. But until we're ready to go vegetarian, I think this is the way for us. We'll eat less meat and we'll know that it was raised in a healthy and humane situation.

Pat --- Here's a link to the netting John is using.

Merisi -- So far they seem fine -- they have shade and plenty of water and ventilation. It's in the low 90s here and pretty miserable but they seem perky.
http://www.kencove.com/fence/Electric+Net+Fencing_products.php

KarenB said...

They do look like adolescents right now - a bit awkward and in that in-between stage! I'm reading these particular posts with interest as it is certainly something we may consider doing in the future.

Tammy said...

As fast as they are growing at least they don't have the rather obscene growth rate of the white cornish cross. Now that is a bit frigtening. That is a beautiful chicken hut, and I've heard the electric netting works great. It looks a bit dry there, is it? We've had a terrible dry spell here, but got a lovely inch of rain last night. Hoping for more, but at least the scorched fields are greening some. It's still awful hot and humid though.
Tammy

NCmountainwoman said...

Do not give them names. And try not to identify individuals by markings or personality.

It's a bit harder for me to understand the mixed feelings about humanely raising chickens for food. Perhaps because my parents had chickens when I was a little girl and eating them was just a part of having chickens. I'm sure I could still pluck and singe a chicken like I did as a child. But I'd have to delegate the killing part.

Reader Wil said...

You remind me of my daughter in Australia, for she has also a great number of livestock. She has chickens, ducks, turkeys, dogs and cats. She is planning to have goats. She doesn't eat the animals, for she is a vegetarian. Once she had a male turkey, who was called Christmas and his wife was called... Pudding! She gave Christmas away and kept Pudding.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Vicki, You and your husband are country folks for sure. So interesting to read about life in the country. Enjoyed! -- barbara

Vicki Lane said...

Hey Karen -- I'm feeling good about this so far -- of course, John is doing all the work. It's an attempt to know where our food comes from and how it's raised.

Store-bought chicken, unless it's the organic sort (very expensive,) comes from birds who live their brief lives in deplorable conditions.

You're so right about those white Cornish crosses, Tammy. A few years ago we had some as a part of an order that we shared with friends. They didn't get sorted out right away but in a week's time they were over twice the size of the ordinary chicks. They were scary and lethargic -- all their energy went into growing. These guys seem like ordinary chickens.

Yep, Mountainwoman -- we figure that if one chooses to eat meat, one should be able to deal with the process that turns the animal into meat. I've personally killed and cleaned chickens -- not fun but do-able.

Yep, I know better than to name them.

Markin said...

Quoth NCmountainwoman:
"Do not give them names. And try not to identify individuals by markings or personality."

Quote Lewis Carroll:

"'You look a little shy: let me introduce you to that leg of mutton,' said the Red Queen. 'Alice--Mutton: Mutton--Alice.' The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be frightened or amused.

"'May I give you a slice?' she said, taking up the knife and fork, and looking from one Queen to the other.

"'Certainly not,' the Red Queen said, very decidedly: 'it isn't etiquette to cut anyone you've been introduced to. Remove the joint!' And the waiters carried it off ..."

Much of a muchness, I suspect. Hard to eat something you've been introduced to, or have gotten to know ...

Mario R.

Vicki Lane said...

Mario? The Smithsonian mouse from FB? Is that who Markin is?

Oh, tee hee to your quote! I do love Carrolling.

And Tammy -- forgot to answer your question -- yes, it's very dry here. As a matter of fact, John has had a sprinkler going in front of the chicken tractor to encourage the grass to sprout and give the chicks a nice lawn. (Can lawn ornaments be far behind? Our laying flock has a concrete pig in their chicken yard.)

Pamela said...

Your chicks remind me of my childhood, when we used to have our own chicks in the backyard. I remember the first weeks my mother would feed them with smashed boiled eggs, which always sounded so unnatural to me!

Miss_Yves said...

So cute!
Sorry for the poem:
Two syllables but only one syllable in poetry at the end of the line...
So your first idea was correct

It was difficult to think today :too hot

Markin said...

Yes'm, Markin = Mario = mouse = me. A fellow Carrolliphile.

There's a lot of us out here who are now too far removed from the (meat) food source to feel at all comfortable about the actual killing process, not to mention the living conditions ... I refuse to be apologetic about it, this is simply how it is. But it's why that passage from Alice has always resonated with me: if I've met the critter, I really do not want to eat it. Couldn't eat turkey for years after I'd shared a meal of "Indian tacos" with a couple of them at a picnic once.

Won't eat Bambi, either. [shrug]

Vicki Lane said...

Oh yes, Pamela -- chickens love eggs. They also love chicken scraps -- a turkey carcass makes them ecstatic. Proper little carnivores.

Merci beaucoup for the explanation, Miss Yves. Too hot here as well.

And Markin/Mario -- I do understand your feelings -- but they won't do for a farmer. :-)

Vagabonde said...

I think I would get attached to the chicks and then, it would be hard to eat them, or butcher them. For some reason it was not so bad when my husband used to hunt and bring Canada Geese from his hunting in Canada, at least I had not seen them grow. But the meat will be so much tastier than regular chickens.

Star said...

There is nothing quite like watching chicks grow up. They don't like being hot so I am wondering how they are coping with the excess of heat you get out there?
Blessings, Star

Tipper said...

Oh I so want chickens. Thought this was the year-but it hasn't been : ) Your set up is really neat.