Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chicks Arrive!

We had 50 chicks arrive by the 11th of May from two different hatcheries. The 25 Dorkings, which arrived from Ideal, did and continue to do wonderfully well. The assorted 25 that arrived from Privett had one dead on arrival with another dying that night, and a Delaware chick who died this Saturday, which was a total shock and surprise. All the chicks have seemed quite healthy and hardy with very little pasty butt.

You can see how much they're already feathering out after just a week and a half. The black chick is a Dominque, the yellow are the Delawares, and the brown are variously Dorkings, Americaunas or Welsummers. The Dorkings and Welsummers are both straight runs, so we'll likely have several cockerels for our table by the end of the summer.

We have them brooding in a vacant stall while Jim builds the new coop off the one side of the barn, which will feature a brooding coop and a breeding coop, one on either end, and a central, all-purpose coop. The lower front will feature chicken doors out into the pasture, hopefully keeping the other animals out, while the 8' back will have people-size doors into the coop for feeding and egg collecting. The back doors also open out to the compost area, which will enable easy clean out. Our plan is to put a gate from the end of the coop out to the fence, allowing us to restrict the area behind the coop for breeding management.

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