Category Archives: Chickens

All around update!

First and foremost … DH is back to work.  We survived the 4th of July family reunion too!

 

Two roosters out of the 10 have been processed.  Still have 8 more to go, but now that I’ve done my first (DH did the other one about 1.5 weeks ago) I feel a bit more confident.  I will work on getting them processed over the next week.  Once that’s done, I’ll be cleaning out the coop really well, sterilizing it with bleach water, letting it dry out then putting the 8 baby chicks in there.

 

The three bucks still need to go.  I’ve got to get them done this week as well.  We need the space for the baby rabbits so their mama’s can have a break from them.  We have a total of 19 little ones and I hope to get them to a decent size in the next couple of months.  Right now they’re about 5-6 weeks old.  One thing I’ve learned is that they do not grow out as fast as I would like them to.  I’ll be giving them all a good weigh when it’s time to move them to the other cages so I can track it over the next month or so.

 

I think in the future I need to get some NZ White’s or Red’s for my meat rabbits and do away completely with the meat mutts.  Of course, that was kinda the plan to begin with.  We got the meat mutts so that the learning curve would be less costly.

 

And the garden is doing so-so.  Of course, compared to last year it’s doing outstanding!  :)  I’ve got a pot of “vegetable medley” on right now simmering down which I plan on putting through my food mill to make a sauce for pasta.  It smells fabulous.

 

But that’s what’s going on around our homestead right now!  :)

Dipsatch Day and Fodder Update.

Yesterday was Dispatch Day.  We processed 6 of the rabbits and ended up with 14# 4.9 oz of rabbit (not de-boned and no organ meats).

2 Rabbits we traded with our neighbors for some venison from this past years hunt.  We ended up having venison steaks for dinner last night.  Yummmy!  :)

4 of the rabbits are now sitting in the fridge aging.  Hubby wants to learn to debone rabbit, so he’s going to try and debone 2 or 3 of them.  We have found a recipe for bourbon chicken that I’m going to attempt with rabbit meat instead.  Might do that for Easter dinner!  :)

Here are the before and after weights of the rabbits we processed….

4# 9.6 oz    -    2# 5.8 oz
4# 8.0 oz    –    2# 2.3 oz
4# 7.0 oz    –    2# 0.9 oz
4# 15.6 oz    –    2# 7.6 oz
6# 1.6 oz    -    2# 15.3 oz
4# 11.6 oz    -    2# 5.0 oz

 

We have also started feeding fodder to the chicks.  They aren’t devouring as much as I’d hoped (i.e. all of it) but they *are* eating most of it.  I figure anything left that isn’t eaten can be raked up and added to the compost pile once every couple of weeks.  They’re really not leaving much but still, hate for it to go to waste!

I’m also not getting the growth rates I anticipated with the fodder.  I’ve changed my method a bit a few days ago to see if my growth rate improves.  But either way, it’s still more economically viable to grow fodder, even at this slightly reduced output, than to keep buying pellets.

Fodder Feeding?

I’ve been doing alot of reading lately about feeding rabbits, chickens and goats (as well as cows, horses, etc.) on “fodder” instead of the expensive feeds from the stores.  With the increasing costs of feeds it seems like it may be the way to go.  At least with some of the animals we have.

From what I understand 1# of seed turned into fodder is equal to 6-7 #’s of fodder.  So a 50# bag of wheat seed @ approximately $20 would equal 300-350 #’s of fodder!  While the same amount of pellets (chicken and/or rabbit) would be approximately $90-$105.  And that doesn’t include the cost of fuel to go pick it up, because most likely those bags of feed would not be picked up in one trip.

The big chickens pretty much free-range during the day and don’t really eat much of their pellets unless it’s a really bad weather day out and they don’t leave their coop/run area or we keep them penned for one reason or another.  But the little chicks we’re don’t really want to let out for fear that the rooster (who has proven that he does *not* like them) will hurt them.  We’re mostly growing them for meat anyway, since it appears that most of them are going to be roosters anyway.  Those little buggers eat ALOT of pellets!  I think the 21 of them could easily go through a “tray” of fodder a day.  It would certainly be cheaper to feed them 1 # of grain turned fodder a day then 1.5-2 blue coffee can’s of chicken feed!  That’s about equal to 4-4.5 #’s a day.

Then there’s the rabbits.  They go through about the same amount of pellets on a daily basis as the chicks do.  4-5#’s.  So again, 1# of seed turned fodder or 4-5#’s of pellets.  There is no option about letting them “free range” LOL so we have no choice but to feed them pellets or fodder.

So here’s the break down.

  • 2#’s of fodder a day for 25 days would equal 1 – 50# bag of seed.  Approximate cost $20
  • 10#’s of pellets a day for 25 days would equal 5 – 50# bags of pellets.  Approximate cost $75

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Of course, there is the “initial investment” to think about.  Trays, seed, etc.  But even figuring in that cost I think we can still save alot of money on a monthly basis.  In addition it would make growing out chickens & rabbits much MUCH more cost effective.  Giving us the meat we’re wanting, at a substantially lower cost.

Chicks survived!

We put the chicks outside in their little coop a couple days ago.  However, last night is the first night since they’ve been out there that got really cold.  I was a tiny bit concerned about them, but not too awful much, since we didn’t put a heat light out there.  They’re mostly feathered with just bits of fuzz here and there so I was hoping it would be enough.

 

Apparently it was!  YaY!  Their waterer was a little bit frozen when I went out there but I just dropped it into the bucket of warm water I took out and in just a few minutes it was thawed out and ready to be refilled.

 

So, now there are no more smelly chicks in my living room!  :)

Chicken Run Re-Work

With the new chicks in the house, hubby decided it was time to re-work the chicken run.  Mainly because I’m not too happy having to deal with chicks in the house again!  LOL

 

Basically, we’ve taken the large 20 foot x 24x run and re-arranged it.  Now (or it will be) one 8 foot x 20 foot to attach to the large coop and an 8 foot x 8 foot run attached to the smaller “Purina” coop we originally built for the chickens.  In about a week or so we will be moving the chicks out to that coop.  The runs share a wall so that the chickens can all “get to know each other” with the chicks being somewhat safe from being pecked by the olders.  When the time is right, we will take the new hens and integrate them into the big coop and the roosters will be grown out for fryers/roasters.

 

Will post pictures once it’s all said and done!