Raising Chickens: Out With the Old, In With the New

| 3/10/2010 6:05:00 PM

A photo of the Sell family December 2009Our first batch of 18 chicks is over a month old now. They have most of their baby fuzz gone and were very ready for a larger home. Besides that, we were expecting 95 new babies from McMurray Hatchery.

Since we are raising the birds for our friends Dick and Tracy, we wanted to be sure they had enough hens for a good laying flock. With our less than 50 percent hatch ratio the first time around, we encouraged them to order day old chicks for us to raise.

When Tracy’s friend heard about a farmer willing to raise “day-olds” up to a few months old, they wanted in on that deal. On top of that, Andy and I really wanted to take the opportunity to get our hands on a breed of laying hen that we’d been researching for more than a year. More on that later.

Finally, there were 42 Americauna eggs approaching day 21 in the incubator and we needed to get the kiddy pool ready once again for a host of tiny fluff balls.

So, out with the old chicks and in with the new.

Andy spent a couple days working in our brooder house to get it up to temperature. He arranged some bales of straw as walls and used some old plywood to make a ceiling. He drilled holes in the plywood to allow for two heat lamps to drop in and provide the crucial heat the birds needed. Finally, he covered the floor with cedar wood shavings and placed in a larger feeder and waterer. Once the area was up to about 80 degrees we moved the month old chicks to their new home.

3/12/2010 5:48:25 PM

Becky, I love your blog and always look forward to updates. I'm glad you finally got your Delawares. I started my own last July and wanted that "street cred" of an old American breed. I'm really hopeful that some of those girls will want to sit on some eggs this summer to propagate the flock. I cant imagine not having eggs while new pullets come into lay. God bless.

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