The Life of a Meat Chicken, Week 2

The meat chickens are now one week old. Most noticeable in their first week of life is the appearance of the white feathers that will replace their fluffy down. This usually starts on their wings. Our chicks are still in the brooder but don’t require the heat lamp as much, especially with September temps still in the 80s/90s. They are starting to outgrow their space, evidenced by their¬†ability¬†to “fly” out. In a few days Andy will move them onto the floor of the chicken house, and at about 2.5-3 weeks they will be moved outside to pasture.

Two weeks old!
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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)

 

Harmonious living

I love the late lazy days of summer the best, especially this year as we complete our first full year back on the farm. Our new batch of thanksgiving turkeys are a few weeks old and the next batch of broilers only have a few weeks left before they are processed. Andy moved them all in the same pen a few days ago, and while there is some competition over food, we love that they share space so well.

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This morning I noticed that our sunflowers had bloomed, while the sheep were grazing in a fresh area of pasture next to the garden. We’ve learned that the sheep are particular on what grass they will eat…they prefer younger grass (recently mowed) and will leave the tall older grass alone.

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Also this week we have finally been able to hold our new litter of bunnies, and butchered a rabbit from our first litter for Sunday dinner. It was delicious. We are still taking orders for rabbit, chicken and turkey for this fall.