After about 12 weeks we butcher and process all of them, giving us a great homegrown chicken dinner every two weeks or so.
It's never been enough. We love our own farm raised chicken!
So after our regular fall butchering, we made two big decisions. The first was to double the number of chicks raised for meat from twenty-five to fifty, and the second even more exciting one; TO PAY SOMEONE ELSE TO DO THE BUTCHERING FOR US!
For just $3.00 each they will butcher, clean, and vacuum wrap our birds. Since the plant is about 2 hours from our home we'll drop the birds off early and spend the day in the lovely Amish town of Arthur, until they are ready. It's a great reason for a date day! Sure, it's cheaper to do it yourself but
Two weeks ago, our Freedom Ranger broilers arrived. With fifty little cheeps, we needed a larger brooder for their first home. In true recycling fashion Keith build this jewel all from materials on hand.
Because baby chicks are very vulnerable to cold weather the first couple of weeks, we lined the earth bottom with heavy plastic and then covered that with wood shavings. A heat lamp was hung alongside a temperature gauge . Baby chicks like temps right about 100 degrees the first week or so.
Both sides lift up for ventilation on warm days and the front section will have a removable board placed over it to keep drafts off the babies at night. It's easy to set aside the front board so the chicks can come and go freely as they mature. Below you can see the front board in place.
We've located the little broilers at one end of our soon to be sweet corn garden, with a small area enclosed with...wait for it...chicken wire. My sister visited the other day and commented she had seen chicken wire used for many projects, but never actually for chickens! When the chicks are older and our sweet corn is high enough they can't hurt it, we'll turn them into the rest of the sweet corn garden to do bug and grub control. We'll also remove the brooder and give them other shelter from rain for the rest of the summer. That "other shelter" is still on the drawing board.