Sunday, May 31, 2009
In the mornings-every morning-- for the last few weeks I have been visiting the chicken coop and our 100 Jumbo Cornish Rock chicks. They have a big title because they are going to be food. I am on a farm and we are raising clean, active, heathy birds that will feed my relatives, friends and family. I am proud of these birds and what I will be able to do to help others find 'un-chemicaled' food.
Another part of me so admires this growth process as I see them changing every day. Last week they were losing their yellow downy and starting to get white feathers. They would run around flapping and sometimes 30 or 40 would all go flapping together across the pen. This week they are growing so fast they have bald sections of their body. The feathers cant keep up. I am challenged by them to keep their environment correct. This week we put 2 inch wood blocks under the feeder and the water tank. If we keep the rim of the feeder at 'chest high' the feed will stay cleaner and more birds can get to the feeder at the same time. This morning I adjusted the feeder so more grain would come out for them. They ate 20 lb. of feed yesterday. So I don't want waste but I have to keep alert to what they are doing. I started 'turning their bedding' this week. The bedding is straw and wood shavings. I move slowly through the coop, forking over the bedding. It fluffs and unmats from the floor. Now that they are used to me doing it; dozens swirl around me, pecking straw, chirping , and fussing like they are cleaning their playground. Then I add some new straw and shavings. They go to work on that too. Tomorrow I will dump all the bedding into compost and bring in all fresh bedding. As these teens get bigger I will need to do this more.
The daytime air is in the 50's and 60's so I open the windows to knock down the humidity during the day and with the cross breezes dry the bedding a little. So food--water--shelter, then I sit a while and watch. They are funny, clever, pushy, and so active. Tonight the windows are mostly closed, 40 degrees by morning, one heat light is on in case someone needs it, and the feeders are full. As the sun goes down most just flatten themselves into the bedding and sleep.