Wednesday, July 16, 2014

PPPP Report Week 3

Climbing and exploring.  Everywhere.
Another week, another Wednesday.
Time for your Promised Pastured Peeper Progress Report, week 3. 

After being able to report that everyone survived week 2 I'm sorry to say that this week we were not so lucky.  Even with two heat lamps it appears that the night we dipped into the low 50s was too much for two of the layers and one of the broilers.  It's especially hard in cases like these because while they all survived the night, the following day those three just gave up.  Checking up on them every few hours and going from "everyone happy" to "oops, there are 3 casualties" is shocking, and leaves one with an unrequited urge to provide care. Not that babying an ill bird usually helps, but it helps a little when you can tell yourself "you tried", even though I know that's usually me just trying to fool myself. (continued)

King of the (little) water fountain.
That leaves us with 51 broilers (started with 52), 24 layers (started with 26) and 8 turkeys (no change). That's a lot of little feathered souls that are still kicking and happy, getting down with their peeping selves. They are eating more, though we haven't quite kicked the second 50 lbs. bag of feed yet, we did have to upgrade from the baby feeder to a full size one.  In addition to getting access to that much more feed, as I mentioned on Monday the paddock shifting phase has begun and now that things are moving it looks like we'll be moving frequently.  This time 2 days was about the limit, and if I can keep it to every two days for another week that would be ideal.  Soon it will probably be every day, those birds really hammer the grass with their hunting, eating, and "depository" activity.  Of course this is good because the grass gets fed better (so much raw energy there), the birds get fed better (with all that high quality salad and a fresh round of bugs), and I get to write off another 64 square feet that I won't have to mow for a month (the paddock is 8x8 and the end of the sentence wanted a parenthetical note too).

Why worry about #winning when #win#win#win scenarios are possible? Charlie Sheen really missed the 8 ball on that whole situation.

You remember our friends Red (L) and Rock (R) don't you?
After several attempts (and asking nicely) the selected models stood still for their pictures.  The barred rock layers continue to put on size slowly and the red ranger broilers have had no trouble showing double those gains.  It makes for an interesting dynamic in the brooder.  The layers look like mini coopers weaving back and forth between big rigs on the highway and there is a lot of noise and ruffled feathers as a result.  

Rather than try and get paired poses like last week it quickly because apparent that we'd have better luck just putting the birds down and rushing to get a picture quick before everyone scattered.  I swear to God there are players in the NFL that can't break a huddle this quickly on demand.  

As predicted the broiler is heftier than the turkey, and compared to the turkey the layer's small gains are easier to see.  Very soon it will begin to feel crowded in there I expect, though while they continue to huddle for warmth and comfort I won't have to worry about any fighting or problems.  As they get bigger and need the lamp and warmth less I may have to set up a second enclosure and split them up.

By then they may be just about big enough to move into a larger electronet paddock but I will play that by ear.  I don't want to rush them into a less secure situation, even if it means more space and freedom for them.  Things move along quite fast enough without me trying to think 3 steps ahead of myself.  Turns out 2 steps ahead is already more than enough work, thank you very much.

"Bird's eye" view.  Get it?


  1. I love seeing the weekly progress. It's amazing the growth rate difference between the breeds.

  2. I enjoy watching it also. This is also a bit of record keeping for me. To actually gauge the differences I should probably be weighing them on some hyper accurate scale... maybe next year (but I doubt it). It's hard to weigh things that are more interested in running away.

    I do think that this type of visual comparison is much more valuable than the usual charts and numbers you find in the books written about raising chickens. The numbers are great and all but visually the shocking difference really hits home.