No Snails In This Mail

CHICKS! ( can you see the one poking its beak through the hole in the word baby?, I didn’t plan for that!)
Picture 1615Picture 1619This morning we received that early morning call from our local post office, “your chicks are here”. 60 little meat birds that is. Off we went to retrieve them, wanting to get them home as quickly as we could. After two days of travel, they were ready for food and water. It is not at all uncommon to have new baby chicks arrive in the mail. Most people around here order their birds from a hatchery in the mid west, there are not too many hatcheries in the north east. Once we arrived home and unboxed our little hatchlings, we set them up in their brooding area. We use the kid’s old tree house. It has access to electricity ( for a heat lamp), is way up off the ground so the chicks are less susceptible to predators, and it’s draft free.Picture 1633Picture 1625 The chicks will remain in their “high rise” until their real feathers appear. Usually they are completely feathered by the 3rd to 4th week. Then they move outdoors into a shaded hoop house, along with an outdoor run so they can spend their time foraging.. Every couple of days we move their housing and their run to fresh grass. Between 8 to 10 weeks they will be ready for butchering. We do all of our butchering here on the farm. This year we are raising birds a bit later than usual. I think in the long run the timing may actually work out better ( than early spring or mid summer), by the time we are butchering it will be the first part of October and much cooler. These 60 meat birds ( remember we cut back this year!) will fill the freezer back up with a winter’s supply of chicken. Home grown, that’s the way we like it! Picture 1623

8 comments on “No Snails In This Mail

  1. I’m always conflicted when I see meat birds. I’m in total agreement with knowing where your meat comes from, but they are so cute, and it reminds me when we got ours for laying purposes. I guess that’s why I don’t eat chicken more than a couple of times a year if that. 🙂

    • I can understand this, Judy…they are adorable when they are baby chicks, but in a few weeks they really transform and I have to say….a little less adorable, I guess we just feel that if we’re going to eat meat, it will be from animals we raise with care. It is never easy, but I know I would feel differently eating chickens raised on massive farms in tight quarters I do appreciate the conversation we all have about meat/ no meat, and respect the feelings of those who would rather not eat meat. Veggies are good too!.

  2. Hi Denise! I am so pleased to have met you with my friend Bonnie, and your blogs along with the wonderful time I had have the effect of making want to come back up there! The chicks are adorable but yes, they are food – one of my favorites. Keep up the great work!
    Paula from RI

    • Hi Ya Paula,
      It was great meeting you as well. I have an inkling that you are just the kind of person who would fit in here in rural Maine. I won’t be surprised if Bonnie finds herself walking over to your house someday….next door. I think the good ol’ state of Maine would be glad to have you! Yep, those chicks are darn cute when they’re itty bitty, but in a few weeks they’ll become semi feathered prehistoric looking creatures who eat and poop constantly. Take care and hope we’ll get to visit again someday.
      denise p.s. hello to Bonnie!

  3. What variety meat bird do you purchase? I’ve tried both barred rocks and Jersey giants, which are not the quick growers you have.

    • Hi Michael, this year we went with a breed called Cornish Rock x, they are a meat breed. More often we raise Freedom Rangers, a free range bird…..still considered a meat
      bird ,but will not grow so quickly, so fast. The Cornish can usually be butchered by 8 weeks, the Freedom Rangers are more like 11 weeks. because we are raising our meat birds later in the season this year, we’ve decided to go with the Cornish. otherwise, we prefer the Freedom Rangers. The two breeds you’ve mentioned are typically a laying variety, and you are right..they will grow much slower. Hope this helps and thanks for reading1

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