Our partner in homesteading crimes asked us a couple weeks ago about raising him up some meat birds as he was sick of eating crap foods bought from the supermarket. He is fairly new to rural living and is not quite ready to make the leap into raising his own just yet although we have been helping him to ready one heck of a garden area.
We have been thinking about getting a few more hens and a new rooster so that we can begin brooding our own chicks again any way. Our own rooster suffered an unfortunate incident last summer and we had not bothered to replace him but a few of our hens are getting older and it was time to start thinking about building a small flock back up.
After a few more emails and discussions we decided upon 15 birds for him and 9 for us. We will keep a few hens and one rooster so that we can begin incubating a couple times a year to keep the both of us in farm fresh chicken and eggs. We will also keep all the chickens here for now in hopes that maybe next spring he will be ready for a few hens of his own and a fancy chicken tractor. Twice a year we will have a butcher weekend and he can come help out with the deed. I hate butchering chickens and that is one of the reasons why we stopped incubating our own chicks and just keeping enough hens to keep us in eggs year round and for fertilizer.
We were originally going to order from a hatchery but after hanging out on craigs list a bit we found a couple local folks with chicks for sale cheaper than what we could get them through any company. After several phone calls to the closest one with no response (It really irks me when people do that!) I contacted the other folks who unfortunately though technically in the same town it is about 40 minutes away. It is a beautiful ride though. Here are the pics from our ride out there and back if interested.
They had a few hundred chicks of various sizes for a buck fifty a bird so I just told the feller to snag me out 24 of the largest chicks he had. Most are Rhode Island reds and black australorps but there is a cute beige one and a furry footed one of one sort or another and a few other odd balls in the group. We decided to go with the older ones for a couple reasons. As much as I like to watch peeps they are messy, smelly, need lots of lighting and more overall care. I would have to keep tiny babies separate from the older hens longer and then integration is always a pain. These older ones are all but out of the light needing stage, are eating grower feed, and are much easier to spot than itty bitties so they won't accidentally get killed.
When we got home we decided to integrate the new kids in with the old girls. Only in my world does bringing new kids scare the old and send them running to higher ground.
They were a bit camera shy last evening but here are a few of them as we released them from the cage.