Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Meet the peeps!

Chickens on the grass
Chicks, peeps, peepers, babies, fuzzy-butts... nuggets.
I'll be introducing you to all the animals here eventually, but I thought since I teased with a picture of the "hot wings" yesterday I would stick with them for now.

We don't name our animals (mostly) and if you've ever tried to keep 50+ poultry still for long enough to assign names (or even, say, count them) you'll understand that is as much from necessity as anything else.

Yeah, I call them nuggets, though there isn't much more than a mouthful to them yet. (continued)
Turkey in the sun, nuggets in the shade.
This is week 1, though depending on which bird I grab that might actually be a day over or a day shy, give or take.  I'll be counting on Wednesdays (if you're going to keep track from home) and LAST week counts as week 0.  So everyone is a week old.  That leaves 11 weeks until hot wings and 16(ish) weeks for cranberry&stuffin sammiches.  That's a lot longer than you'd wait at the diner but really not that long in the grand scheme of things.  Of course those time estimates are a bit flexible...  we still have chickens and turkeys from last year's batch working for us, but you'll get to meet them later.

We waited until June this year to place our nugget order at the hatchery which seems to have been a wise decision so far.  The 80-90 degree days we've had this past week were perfect for brooding chicks and we've barely needed to use the heat lamp.
Sometimes you've just had enough tanning.

Knowing they are babies and NOT babying them can be difficult.  Of course the less work needed the less time we spend on chores the better, and it turns out hovering is often the best way to stress them out (doing more harm than good).  Place to get sun, check.  Place to get shade, check.  Place to get warm, check.  Place to stay dry, check. Food and water, check.  Fencing, check.  Time to leave them alone for a bit.... and maybe chase the cats away... again.

A better view and a Miss Lilly cameo
My cats love poultry.  Good thing Mrs. Farmer loves those cats.  Good for them, anyway.  I don't like to tally up how much baby poultry my cats have used to supplement their diet over the years.  It is top quality, home grown, beyond organic... and provides a nice segue into the protection set up we're trying this year.

A pair of 16' hog panels, cut to 8' lengths and zip tied into a square is a bit of a departure from what we've done in the past but this is our first time brooding so many birds as well.  Because the nuggets don't respect fences (and are happy to wander out into the cat's "hunting territory" with no regard to our desire for their welfare) we've also added a poly mesh net to the steel panel itself so they don't try escaping. Before they are large enough to graduate to the poultry net paddock they will be large enough to not need the netting but it's much better to put the netting on now rather than leave them to their own devices for the next week or two.

In a display that I can only describe as "bird brained" even with the mesh in place (and pristine grass/feed/needs all provided inside it) the nuggets still would rather put their heads through the fence to get at what is outside it.  I believe watching the cats decapitate one turkey may have been enough for the others to learn better (as no others have done it since) but we can add one more "turkey dinner" to the cat's bill of fare *grumble*.

Thanks for stopping by.

No comments:

Post a Comment