We’ve had our six chicks for a week and a day now.
This has been a lot like being a first time parent. We don’t know what we’re doing but it is turning out okay anyway.
Just for comparison, here’s a pic from last week followed by today…
I’m not sure if it’s the same chick, but the hands are the same. (No, those aren’t my hands)
I grabbed some turf a few days ago. I installed the clump of sandy dirt and grass in the pen with the chicks. Things got lively–those little guys played tug o’war with the grass. The chicks would also take turns knocking each other off the clod. Sheer entertainment.
Mainly, the changes I see are that the chicks are lengthening. They have necks now. Their legs are taller and their body length has increased.
I’ve never seen chicks sleep on their own (without a mama) before. They lay like roadkill–necks stretched out and beaks pointing straight or even down. I’ll have to take a pic of it.
The chicks are developing wings. I may have to cut some feathers in the future. We’ll see how high they can flutter. Their tail feathers are developing as well.
We’re using a standard jar waterer, but I don’t like it. There’s too much water ending up in the shavings. I’m going to look for an alternative.
I love watching them grow and chnage. While I am envious of the growth rate and feed conversion of the cornish crosses and understand the need to grow what the consumer wants in order to be profitable, I have serious reservations about raising these mutant birds. Before I proceed to rant please know that I am in no way bashing Polyface, you guys are my heroes. Grass fed mutants is a HUGE step up from factory raised mutants but they are still mutants. I can’t help but wonder if eating something that is incapable of sustaining life much past market weight due to all the complications caused by the growth rate they are engineered to achieve doesn’t have consequences for our bodies too. I know I am having a moment here but please bare with me, its really not a bash its more of a talking things through. If we are eating something that could not live and procreate are there not questions and concerns? On the flip side consumer expectations drive the market. Freedom Rangers are the perfect example of this playing out. There is a market but the majority of consumers demand a chicken like they are used to buying at the grocery store. I have to admit as we have started butchering our chickens I myself looked at the first few skeptically with their single breasts and their longer legs. I also educate my friends and family who are starting get chicken from us. We have a sweet deal right now where we buy heritage birds for $1 each from a local breeder at 3-6 weeks old when she culls for trait imperfections. We get them in batches of 25 50 which works out great for us. The majority of what we get are Delawares, New Hampshires, Orpingtons, and Barred Rocks with a few smaller breeds like Marans and Americanas thrown in. We fell into this deal just as we were getting ready to start raising pastured poultry for our own consumption. We were having the Cornish Cross debate then and I imagine we will have it again when this supplier dries up or we decide to go to the next level and raise to sell to the general public. I know you can’t chnage consumer expectations over night but maybe if we all work on it we can over time.