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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Broiler Chicks Have Arrived!

As stated before, Drewman's FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), also know at his project, is poultry.
Each year Drewman orders broiler chicks for the state fair.
Broiler chickens are meat chickens.
All the broiler chickens shown, at the fair, come from the same hatchery and are shipped, to all the exhibitors, on the same day.
Can you imagine the craziness at that hatchery, on that day?

The chicks arrived last Friday.
 Just like the EGGcelent EGG Layers, the post office calls, you rush to town to pick up the chicks.
Get the chicks home.
Dip each chicks beak into the water and feed, counting as you remove each one from the box.
50 broiler chicks ordered, 50 broiler chick delivered.
ALL alive and well!

This brings me to another country question.
"What do I need to buy to go in my chicken coop before the chickens arrive? (water bowls, feeders, food, etc?)"

If you are purchasing day old chicks from a hatchery, you will need to feed them chick starter.
If your chicks have been vaccinated (you have this option when placing your hatchery order), you will need to feed a non medicated chick starter.

If you are purchasing pullets or hens, you will need to feed them layer feed.
Layer feed comes in two different forms - crumbles and pellets.
Drewman feeds crumbles.
The crumbles are easier for the birds to eat.
When feeding the pellets, the birds have to peck at the food more to break it apart.
This promotes "pecking" within the flock and can cause damage, even death, between the birds.

Drewman also adds chicken scratch to his girls' crumbles.
Scratch is a combination of different grains - corn, milo, wheat...
The girls really like it!

The mixture of crumbles to scratch is normally 2 to 1.
The feed is placed in feeders purchased at the feed store.
Drewman uses the trough type feeders, but you could use the feeder that best fits your needs.

It is very important that the chickens have fresh water each day.
Waterers can also be purchased at your local feed store.
Drewman uses the waterers for the smaller chicks and pullets.
For the EGGcelent EGG Layers, he places tubs of water in their pens.
The ducks love to splash and play in them.
When the chickens are hot, you will find them standing, in the tub of water, to cool off.

The EGGcelent EGG Layers also get free range of pasture.
Therefore, they get to find tasty treats like roots, bugs, and even snakes!
Having the chickens roam the yard and pasture, we don't have an issue with ticks on the dogs or large amounts of grasshoppers jumping everywhere.

The EGG Layers are cooped at night to prevent predators from getting them.
The broiler chickens feed and water is much different than that of the EGGcelent EGG Layers.
I can't give Drewman's secrets away, for raising his broilers.
Each exhibitor has their own little tweaks, to their feeding program, to produce the larger birds.

The broilers are fast growing birds.
Drewman will show them in October.
Some of the exhibitors broilers will weigh over 13 pounds, when shown!

The broilers are in a cool room.
Each week the temperature is lowered and birds are culled.

In October, we will head off, to the state fair, with 5 of the top birds.
3 will be chosen for the pen to show.
The other two will be alternates, in case something happens to one of the birds in the show pen.
These birds don't transport well.
Some will arrive, to the show, with dead birds and no alternates, therefore, those exhibitors aren't allowed to exhibit.

It is a fast and furious 8 weeks!
I will try to keep you updated.
Maybe, I will blog about a sorting day in the future...

1 comment:

  1. We haven't ever tried a huge flock of chickens. We failed miserably with the 10 we did buy one year thanks to predators after they were 3 months old. I would like to invite you to link up this post (more if you like) to the October Country Fair Blog Party.