Here we are on our 18th batch of chicks this year. That means we've had over 2000 chickens live out happy lives here. Whew! That's a lot of chickens! Recently we've had a frustrating development. The last 7 or 8 batches have had migets in them. It started out with one small one running around under the big guys. We thought it was cute and kept her as a pet for a while and let her run around with the laying hens. Then we saw three and four in the next batch we received. Now we're up to 17 t0 20 tiny sized chicks to a batch and it's not cute anymore. We've tracked the situation, called our hatchery, sent pictures, switched hatcheries and still this is happening. Here are pictures of the last batch of chicks the very same day they arrived in the mail. You can clearly see a difference in size. The other picture is of two 4 week old birds from the same batch. These small guys just don't grow. ....but they love to eat! We've switched hatcheries once again to find a different gene pool. It seems many hatcheries get their eggs from the same source in Arkansas. Ideal hatchery in Texas hatches out their own, so we'll see if the big stuff really does come from Texas.
It's been so frustrating because the summertime is when we usually get our bigger growth and this year it just hasn't been there. The birds are still healthy, but dress out much smaller. I've even given some away on freecycle when they were too small even for our Mini catagory. Such is the world of farming. We let the last batch of chickens grow for an extra week and they did get big enough for some Mediums and a few Larges. The next batch we dress out on Monday looks like it could be a mixed lot. We'll see.
On a happier note, The turkeys are growing like crazy! They love to eat grass and I even heard a gobble this morning. Our list of customers wanting one is growing too. It was a scary thing ordering the chicks without knowing if they would sell, but God is blessing it. They are so much fun to raise. I may see if I can sell them next summer too.
It may take time, but how about getting a rooster and hatching you own eggs!!!ReplyDelete
I may try that with some layers, but the broilers are a cross breed that has been developed to grow fast. The bloodlines are carefully guarded secrets. :(ReplyDelete