May 4th 2013 a day in the life

Today I completed spring cleaning for the hens.

Emptied out 90% of the deep litter and replaced it with pine shavings and dry leaves. My large hens decided to take over the bantam roost last fall so I scraped the manure off the wall and move the roost farther away from that wall. I also took out some extraneous beams and the mason blocks for the winter waterer.

It’s the end of chick season here in Mid Missouri so I’m also preparing for the arrival of next week’s chicks. I partitioned off half the coop for the chicks, installed a wall of cardboard inside the pallet walls as it is and has been uncommonly cold for May. Moved the mason blocks into the brooder to hold both the water and the feed while the chicks are small.

This half of the coop will house the meat chicks for 2-3 weeks.

This half of the coop will house the meat chicks for 2-3 weeks. It looks kind of small in this picture, but it is 40 inches wide and 88 inches deep (one pallet by two pallets).

Every spring our public school second graders hatch out chicks. The only thing that makes this practice remotely palatable to me is that they hatch out meat birds. Something like 150 dozen chicks hatch each year. Imagine if half of them were males of a layer breed. At least this way the addition of this many birds is temporary. After the hatch the school district gives the chicks away. So on May 10th I have 5 meat birds to add to my flock for a few months. This will be my second encounter with the cornish cross. My thought is that I’ll process them as soon as they become a hassle, no matter if that is 3 weeks into it or 6.

May 9th is the last day that the local feed store, Bourn, is shipping in chicks. Both of my bantams went broody last weekend, which puts them a week behind being able to adopt the May 9th chicks straight from the store. My hope is that if I keep the chicks inside for a week, or more like a week and a half, I’ll be able to get my bantams to adopt the May 9th chicks. I’ve had both wild luck and disaster with adoption and so far the determining factor seems to be whether the hen has been broody 3 weeks or more. More is better, less is a disaster.

Let me say I was not utilizing all my resources (like checking the calendar) when I tried to get a ❤ week broody to adopt chicks. I would never have tried it had I known she hadn’t been setting long enough. It wasn’t until after the disasters that i bothered to check the chicken events calendar.

I have no idea what I’m going to bring home. I’d like a couple more bantams, but they come straight run and I’m not sure I want to deal with that. The layer chicks I got a year ago are not working out, they are overly mean to one of my favorite hens. I’m okay with a pecking order, but these pullets are over the top nasty and as a result I don’t like them. So I could add 2 sex link chicks. Possibly I could do both, 3 bantams gives me a good chance for a hen and two layers would allow me to remove the nasty girls in the fall.

The advice to not let a broody sit on infertile eggs because the eggs will explode = true.

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