Counting the days

Is it time yet? Can I kick these smelly things out of my porch yet?

These chicks have grown entirely too fast. Look at them, just 4 weeks old, in their brand! new! (already outgrown!) brooder! No other animal I’ve owned has gotten a new house every week of its life.

But these birds… these ugly, ungainly, dopey birds… they grow. Then they sleep, eat, poop, and grow some more.

I mean, look how small they were two weeks ago!

I’m getting mighty tired of changing food and litter all the time. Some people put their broilers outdoors at 4 weeks, some at 5.  These’ll be 4 weeks on Tuesday, so they’re technically old enough… but they’re an early batch, so it’s still pretty cold out. No doubt the second batch that I’ll get at the beginning of May will be able to go outside much sooner than these guys.

While I wouldn’t be surprised if they all were getting testy, really there’s just one chick in there – that black one below – that’s starting to get mean. He savaged my fingers several times today and it hurt.

(I think we have a volunteer for firstsies. I shall name him Stewie. Or maybe Pot Pie.)

The weather looks way warmer than usual during the day this week….

… but those nights look coooold. I’d give them a heat lamp too, so it wouldn’t be completely cold turkey chicken. Their tractor will be encased in a tarp on one side, so they will have some shelter from the wind. But they’re used to temperatures between 60 and 70.

Anyone with experience want to weigh in?

7 Responses to “Counting the days”

  1. marlowe Says:

    We keep ours in the garage or shed in a pool with chicken wire wrapped around and heat lamps. It’s warmer than a portable tractor. We usually get ours later in spring so they can go from old rabbit hutch to pool then shed. We fence off half the shed and they can free range until ready.

    I was just counting how many we need this year and we will be doing 35 between four kids 4-h projects this year. Boy, you are not making me miss the smell :)

  2. diana Says:

    Oh wow, and I only have 10! Well, 9 now. :( But I am planning to get another batch of 15 later. I thought this would be a good way to split up the work of processing and raising; I’ll have some butchering experience under my belt by the time the next ones come. But now I’m thinking maybe it would be good to get the raising out of the way all at once, because it is a pain in the neck!
    Darn it, I KNEW I should have picked up that old kiddie pool from the neighbor’s trash last year… that is a great idea though it would call for a TON of wood shavings! But I couldn’t think what I might need it for at the time, and I am just not able to shamelessly dumpster-dive, so it went off to the dump without me. -laugh-

  3. Amy Says:

    I’d go with Pot Pie 😉

  4. Stone Cottage Mama Says:

    Thank you so much for the advice! I wondered how people used to hatch eggs in the olden. It’s funny because I have been actually thinking about that lately.

  5. ohiofarmgirl Says:

    we name our first “volunteer” well… “First”

    they’ll need a heat lamp – is there a building you can put them in. i think someone already said a garage? they arent quite feathered in yet so they still need pretty good shelter out of the breeze. and yes, they are stinky – huh?

    to answer your question on my comments, of course you may! and (snicker snicker snicker…) i know something you dont know! tune in tomorrow! hee hee hee hee hee

  6. sam Says:

    I’ve been told not to put chicks outside until they’re fully feathered if it is cold at night.

  7. diana Says:

    Yeah, after I posted I realized I’d just talked myself into waiting another week. They’re so sedentary, they don’t actually seem to mind the lack of space all that much.

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