Saturday, November 21, 2015

Big Chicks - 'Tweens

We usually order chicks in August.  We feed them six months and they start to lay eggs in their normal cycle - as the days lengthen in February.  Spring chicks lay briefly when six months old in October or November, but once the days shorten and grow cold they take a break.  There really is a season for eggs and it is from early February to June.  Chickens do not lay as many eggs once it gets hot - July.

This year I ordered chicks late - they are shipped the day they hatch and the egg yolk has given them enough food for three days.  When we get them home from the post office, we open the box and teach them to drink as we put them in a warm lighted box.  As they grow we move them to a stock tank and then out to a shed.

We give them hay and kitchen scraps of greens - carrot tops, Brussels sprouts trimmings, etc.  This year I tried a variety that I have wanted for years - previously they were too pricey for my budget, but this year (maybe as a late season bargain) they were cheaper than usual.  I also got some aracaunas for the green eggs
We get straight run - that means as they hatch male and female chicks.  Once the males start to harass the females and fight for pecking order.  if we separate them from the females the males can live as a unit in harmony instead of as competitors for six months.   So our males have had a full life.  When people order only females, the chicks are sexed and male chicks are killed immediately or they go to places like a raptor center where they are eaten by predator birds.

Here are photos from a couple weeks ago - the birds are about a month old.  Chicks grow quickly

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