|Photo from 2007|
On Tuesday this week we finally picked up our first batch of broiler chicks. They were ordered for the previous Tuesday, but the hatchery messed up and didn't send them.
We are doing things a little differently this year; instead of 50 at once, we're doing 35 twice - this way we will have two processing days, but they won't be as utterly time-consuming and exhausting. I think we put up 42 last year and that was a. lot. of. work. We're nowhere near Joel Salatin's 200 birds/hour obviously, and I don't know that we'll ever get anywhere near there, but this will be - hopefully - easier and more productive.
We had to push back the second batch by a week; I wanted them four weeks apart and the hatchery overruled my order and made them 3 weeks apart. That is bare minimum, and they'd have been 2 weeks apart with making our first order late. This way I can use the same brooder facilities, in succession.
We ordered about 20 pullets as well, to replace many hens we lost last fall, and five turkeys. I was hoping to brood them in succession too; pullets first, then turkeys later in the season, but they're coming together in May. :] I'm guessing this hatchery isn't terribly user-friendly. :)
In any case, we brought our 35 home in wild winds and cold weather. NOT my ideal, but with 2 heat lamps and only 35 chicks, they can all huddle right into the warmth and no one gets left to freeze. They've survived one night so far, and that's good since temps aren't even going to hit 60 within the next week, according to the weather folks.
I ordered some organic starter from Azure, which will hopefully come this time (I ordered it last month and it never arrived). In the meantime I'm giving them a non-medicated starter. I'll use regular grower (or gamebird feed, if I can't find a non-med, high-protein feed) for most of their growing days, and then try to finish them up with a final bag or two of organic feed. I don't know if this is ultimately a huge difference, using it only for a portion of their feed, but at $30/50lb, there's no way I'm using it as their main feed. :]
To keep track of costs, I'm going to keep a list in the sidebar.