I must admit that in nine years of raising poultry I have never had a batch of chickens as challenging as this first batch of meat chickens. After talking with other producers who have had similar problems, we believe it is probably pneumonia. This was likely brought on by the cool spring and rapid temperature fluctuations that followed. The subsequent heat only aggravated things as the birds developed. All told 79 birds made it to the locker from a starting batch of 183. Those that did make it to the locker we smaller then I would have liked even after eleven weeks of development, where a normal batch is completed in eight to nine weeks. Couple that with the incredibly dry conditions, which has now forced us to start feeding the cows hay, and this year pretty disappointing so far on the farm side of things.
Rolo (our white dog) Playing With the Locker Dog on Processing Day
There is still a lot of the production season left, and I hope things can correct themselves. Our second batch of birds arrived this week, consisting of 60 turkeys and 37 layer pullets. The turkeys are the same number as last year and will be with us for at least the next sixteen weeks. This is the first time we have had laying chicks around since before our Son was born. We are finally trying to get our layer population back up so we can sell eggs as freely as we used to. It will be six months before they start really laying eggs, so they will likely start right around Christmas (the first time our first batch of layers laid an egg was Christmas Eve). I also have to build a permanent structure for the birds, that I still would really like to get a start on yet this Summer.
Brooder Tanks Sterilizing in the Sun
Chicks Have Arrived
Sixty Turkeys in Their Tank
Thirty-five Layers in Their Tank
Elsewhere on the farm, we did take two beef to the locker two weeks ago, so we should have a nice selection of beef and chicken available at our July & August delivery days, which start next weekend. If you are interested in ordering and have not done so yet, hit us up here. I hope to see all of you soon at a delivery site in your town. Until then, take care.
Tired Little Guy