Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Raising broilers is a solitary endeavor--at least it can be. But after three years of trial and error there comes a time when a man (or a woman) must lift him/her self from the desultory tasks associated with poultry management to confer with others on the same or a similar journey. I bought 50 chicks one week ago today. It's my second brood of 50 this summer. I like the late brood because the weather is warm and warm weather means a shorter brooding period and a shorter brooding period means my chicks will be on pasture earlier--before they forget how to forage and scratch for food. One to two-week-old chicks are eager to do what
their ancestors did, work for their living. Three-week-old birds, however have largely given up on any idea of feeding themselves and are content to sit in front of a feeder day in and day out. Both chicks will grow nice and plump, but the workin' bird ingests innumerable minerals and vitamins from its varied diet of grass and legumes that confined or otherwise non-grazing birds simply don't have access to. Woe betide the cricket that attempts to cross eighty square feet of workin' bird pasture. Chickens have keen eyesight, and even at one week old they don't miss much.

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