Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The First Chicks Are Here!

A couple of weeks ago I ordered about 60 baby poultry from  McMurray Hatchery. This morning at 6am I got a phone call from the Turtle Lake post office that my chicks were in and I should come ASAP.




Next was unboxing them.  I was expecting about 30 chicks, including some ducks, geese, and turkeys. What I got was 15 Cornish X "meat birds" and a bonus "rare breed" chick.  It turns out the additional 15 birds will be coming later in the week. Also, the 30 guinea fowl keets won't be here until the first week of June.



In order to let them know where the water is (and how to drink?), I dipped each of their beaks into the watering font.


Finally, they all made themselves at home under the warming plate. It's a clever piece of equipment. And it uses a small fraction of the electricity of a heat lamp.



After 3-4 weeks in the brooder under the heating pad, the meat birds should have their feathers and be ready to go outside. They won't be free range, but in a Joel Salatin type "chicken tractor".

At this point I'm planning on having the other birds wander around during the day and put them in a secure coop at night. There are plenty of predators - foxes, raccoons, weasels, coyotes, eagles - but I want/need the guineas to be foraging for ticks.