Sunday, May 17, 2009

Raising Chickens: Week Four - Outgrowing Their Homes

This week has caught me scurrying around trying to keep up with my flocks' growth! I keep thinking about Herrick's pastoral posts about the tranquility of the agrarian lifestyle, and here I find myself falling further behind, with all the accompanying stress.

First I found my new flock, these super growing Cornish Rock Cross birds, quickly outgrowing their cardboard box. In fact, they were beginning to develop bare spots on their chest and bottoms, which I attributed to not being able to keep their quarters clean. So I quickly got my recently built, although not yet sanded and stained, Whizbang Garden Cart ready as a new expanded home. Now they have plenty of room to run around and I find that it is a lot easier to keep up with them.

Meanwhile, the first flock continues to grow into well-developed birds. Here is a picture of Luncheon (or is it Munchin?), one of the chipmunk colored chicks we received. I've spoken to the hatchery and have confirmed that these are Red Broilers, a cross breed that takes longer to raise than the others, but reportedly has a denser, more flavorful meat. I must say that they, as a bird, seem to be much more attractive and natural looking than those "super growers."

I am almost finished with their new home. This portable chicken coop (still have to put on the wire) will be their new home. The run is 4' by 6' with a 4' by 2' covered coop to provide protection from the elements. Since it can get pretty hot around here in June, I may want to provide some shading for them as well. Hopefully next week, I will be able to share pictures of my first pastured flock!



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