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First attempt with meat chickens- Fail.

April 2, 2011

Right now Sean and I have successfully raised meat sheep, cows, and pigs. After watching the documentary “Food Inc.” we decided that we would like to try to raise meat chickens since we are not very fond of the way meat chickens are raised. So we decided to split 50 meat chicks with his family and 10 laying hens; in total we had 30 chicks. The first couple weeks are the most delicate for little chicks, they must be warm enough, have a good water source and constant amounts of food. It is typical to lose a couple chicks in the first couple weeks but we did not lose one single one!

At about a month old we decided it was time for the chicks to move out into the barn because they were smelling really bad in our mud room. Once again they were all really happy and healthy little chicks and we were just so shocked that we hadn’t lost one single chick yet! Guess we spoke too soon.

One morning after feeding the dogs Sean forgot to lock the room that the chicks were in. Later in the afternoon I went in to check on the chicks to see how they were doing and I walked into a horrific sight. Our dog, Queeny, had gotten into the room and got stuck. After being in there for a while she must’ve gotten bored, but she killed 28 chicks out of 30…

Now, I’m not very¬†emotionally¬†attached to animals that we eat, but anyone who has raised chicks knows how much it costs to get chicks started and it’s not cheap, so I was pretty upset about the investment that we had put into the chicks that were destroyed in a matter of minutes by our bored dog.

However! Sean and I don’t discourage easily, we will start trying to raise chicks again in the next couple weeks, hopefully, with better luck this time… and maybe a chain for the dog.

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  1. We feel your pay….it was our fourth attempt after 38 dead chickens before we successfully got homegrown eggs last month!! Keep up the work-not only do the eggs taste better, but the yellow yolk color is so bright compared to even the organic eggs you can buy in the store….We are looking forward to how yummy the chicken will be when we eventually butcher one….God’s blessings!

  2. Oh-I meant “we feel your pain…” I blame the mistype on the four children running around me right now…..

  3. Well, at least we have a couple grown chickens, so we have been getting eggs for a while, but we bought them as teenagers, so they were past the more delicate stage. However, when we first brought them home we had 5 and only 2 made it after the same dog killed 3 of them after we brought them home… so, we are still learning.

  4. Stephanie, I hate to say it, but if you have laying hens they won’t taste good once they’re butchered–even if they supposedly go both ways. The meat will be tough and only really good for stew unless you butcher them at the end of their first year when their egg production will lessen but not totally stop.

    Liz- I don’t know if anybody told you, but chickens have been bred not to sit on their eggs to make it easier to collect the eggs. But sometimes you’ll come across a broody hen who will lay on the eggs–KEEP HER, she is worth so much! You won’t have to order chicks every year if you have some broody hens : )

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