The Life of a Meat Chicken, Week 5

If you would have told 18 year old me that I’d be a chicken farmer in 2012 I would have either laughed or smacked you (I was a bit violent then :). However with the boss latest up for a few days chorea have become my responsibility. Up until a few weeks ago I was still nervous around the birds, but the added responsibility had provided me opportunity to learn and grow in my comfort level with the birds. And they really are fascinating to watch.

The meat chickens continue to eat and grow and poop and therefore we are moving them twice a day. They are pretty ugly now compared to how they started so it is easier to imagine we will eat them in a couple weeks.

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The Life of a Meat Chicken, Week 3

The birds have moved out of the brooder and onto the floor of the chicken house. They are here for a week until they move out on pasture. In the forefront is a meat chicken. To the right is a brown pullet that will become a layer. Notice the size difference? And can you spot a turkey? We have had great success raising all these birds together, no loss in this batch!

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The Life of a Meat Chicken, Week 1

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. The ladies over at Polyface Farms are doing a series called “The Broiler Biography“. I have enjoyed their posts so much I thought I would do it here too.

Wrightway Farm meat chicken, two days old

At Wrightway Farm the kids have gotten used to calling our broilers meat chickens. In fact, anything we are going to eat starts with the word meat…meat chickens, meat turkeys, meat rabbits, and “Meat” the whether (male sheep). Our third batch of chickens for the summer arrived on Tuesday. After breaking through their shells at the hatchery they are packed up and mailed to us. Bright and early the next day we receive a call from the post office to come and get our chickens, ASAP!

When they arrive here they are carefully moved into our old watering trough/brooding pen. New bedding is placed on the old- this provides warmth and allows the birds to start scratching for bugs. The waterer and feeder are cleaned and sterilized between batches.

The pen ready for the new batch.

Andy always likes to place them in gently and show about half the birds where the water and food are located.

Placing the birds in the brooder

The little fluff balls love to sleep their first few days and huddle together to keep warm. They are so cute at this stage…hard to imagine in 8 weeks they will be ready to eat.

Sleeping chicks (with a few turkeys and breeding chickens in there too)

 

Free labor

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Our chickens are on a rotating pasture system made possible by a portable solar electric fence. This keeps them safe from kids predators and allows them fresh grass and bugs. When they are on the same patch for many days they turn the space to dirt. So we are using their hard work to weed one of my many flower beds. A win-win situation – less work for me and delicious eggs.

Eggs to go

We are going on week three of delivering eggs to friends and contacts in “the city”, with almost 30 dozen sold! I am absolutely loving it as I feel even more connected to my grandmother who did the same thing during my childhood. I love that people are loving our eggs and I love having an excuse to go to Columbus. Right now we are trying to combine trips and deliver to a couple homes or offices, but we hope to get a more regular schedule worked out soon! Feel free to send me a message or check out the online store for ordering.

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Chickens and turkeys, oh my!

They are here! Andy went up to Meyer Hatchery¬†on Monday and picked up an innumerable amount of birds. I seriously don’t know how many he ordered. And I think he kept adding to the order once he was there!

Bringing them home.

Here are some of the babies. Anyone want to identify the breeds? I still have a lot to learn!

Big sister is a big helper!

Medium Brother and Little Sister get their first looks!

Medium Brother holding a chick for the first time!

We are raising meat chickens, meat turkeys (in time for Christmas) and laying hens. It was a little emotional for me when I met them…the last time there was livestock on the farm was when I was in high school, and I am reminded of what an awesome experience it is to care for these little creatures.