Welcome baby chickens!

The call came at 7:30 this morning. “This is the post office calling. We’ve got some chicks for you.” We immediately drove the mile to the post office and picked them up. On the box the packing slip read, 51 chicks hatched the day of the postmark. They were mailed two days ago.

Once we got them home, we dipped each chick’s beak in water, which we had prepared ahead of time with a vitamin powder. We arranged plates of food and water containers in the cardboard circle we had prepared inside the chicken tractor, which is inside the garage. Their bedding is a layer of shavings with paper towels on top so they don’t eat the shavings. All the details of how to prepare for them we learned from my parents, who have been raising chickens for years. My mom writes a blog about raising chickens.

Baby chickens, just arrived in the mail from Pennsylvania

The chicks almost immediately began eating and drinking. Their instincts are strong.

These chicks are meant for dinner. We won’t keep them long enough to get eggs out of them. They are a variety called Freedom Rangers, which are supposed to forage well and produce delicious meat. They don’t grow as fast as the Cornish Cross broilers. It makes me a little sad to know that we’re raising them only to kill them. But I hope they’ll live a happy and safe 11 weeks, with fresh grass and bugs once they get a little older.

We plan to keep them in the garage for three to four weeks under a heat lamp (they like to be at 90 degrees in the beginning). Then we’ll move them out to pasture. We’ll move their cages every couple of days so they have fresh pasture.

We will roast the chickens whole for our wedding dinner, then carve them and serve. Yum! I can’t wait.

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3 responses to “Welcome baby chickens!

  1. Susan McGuinness

    Re organic corn for your chickens: obviously, this year you’ll do what works for you, but thinking about next year…I started growing organic corn for my chickens a couple of years ago. It’s very satisfactory to know that Monsanto hasn’t got anywhere near what my animals eat. Corn is very suseptible to gm firtilization so even when we buy non organic corn that the farmer swears isn’t gm…well, I figured it’s better to do it myself. I now grow the best eggs, best chickens anywhere.

  2. I bought ten chicks on March 29, 2009. They have never had commercial food of any kind. I get leftover fruits and vegetables from a grocery, a farmer’s market, and from dumpsters. I saved all eggshells before I got them and crushed the shells to feed them for calcium. Of course, you won’t be making eggs, so that is not a problem. My chicks ate leftover everything. Now, they are large, healthy girls who lay wonderful orange-yolked eggs. Feed has cost me nothing. They get all my banana skins and apple cores, lettuce gone bad, anything. Maybe you can adopt this method to feed yours and cut down costs. Maybe your friends can save scraps for the chickens’ food.

    I love the story of your raising food for the wedding dinner. I hope to hear more.

    People think I am crazy when I say I will cater my own wedding if I ever remarry and marry in my yard. You have certainly raised the bar for me!

  3. I meant to say that my chicks get their protein from tuna and chicken and eggs. I can confidantly say they have never had antibiotics or hormones. Often, I buy chicken cheap parts I will not eat, cook for the hens and feed them for a week from what I cook. They also get to pick the bones of any hen baked. Anything that has been on the shelf or in the freezer too long is hen food. Of course, you would be dependent on the kindness of strangers and friends to be able to feed that many chickens. Good luck.

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