Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hatchery Update

Our first hatch happened on September 23rd, and some of our chicks are now fully feathered. we have chicks anywhere from 1 day old to 6 weeks old. Here is the latest hatch, a few hours old:

He will soon join his brothers in the comfortable 80 Fahrenheit of the brooder (the object in the foreground is the thermostat):

That will be a total of 6 young chicks. Once they have past about 2 weeks in the brooder, they go into the field brooder, outside. The field brooder has a shelter that is maintained at 60 Fahrenheit. They are free to go in and out of the sheltered area. We currently have 9 "juniors" in our field brooder:

After about a month, they have fully feathered, and they go into a similar pen, except the shelter is unheated. We have 9 "pre-teens" in the sheltered pen. Aren't they gorgeous?

We had two chicks die in the brooder. We also gave away three healthy chicks that later died at their new place. We have a total of 24 chicks currently alive, 23 are Black Australorps, 1 is an Ameraucana (our first, hatched yesterday!). Among all those chicks, about half will be roosters, so we can count on a dozen laying hens so far. If the rooster and the breeding hens are true Australorps, then these should be good layers. With parents raised on pasture, they should also be very healthy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wild Visitors

Last week, we had a couple of deers browse in our pasture. The buck was pretty nice. While they were in the pasture, the goats were pretty freaked. Here is a pic of the buck:

Today, the whole deer family visited us. They were in the garden, I forgot to close the gate the day before. Fortunately, not much is growing right now. As we walked on the deck, they got nervous and walked out while I was taking the picture. There were a buck, a doe and 3 fawns.

During the past month, we processed our two bronze turkeys, and our 15 broilers. Out of the 15 broilers, one was killed by a predator, one died of a heart attack, and two were injured. We processed 11 out of 15. They were 12 weeks old Cornish. Next year, we will probably stick to red broilers.