A week of Chickens

The Wilson Homestead is becoming a pastured poultry operation. No let me refine that word. Operation sounds too much like a factory and we are anything but a factory. So we will call it a Pastured Poultry Farm.
Chicken Coop
We have our original twelve Delaware Hens that we bought from Wilco Farm Store last February. They give us 8-11 eggs a day.
They are delightful creatures who follow us everywhere.
They come when we call.
They eat what we give them.
They go to bed when they are told.
They give us beautiful eggs to eat and sell. 
They are pretty perfect children. 
We bought 25 Rhode Island Red that were 2 weeks in old at Wilco  on September 27th. They were half price because they were already two weeks old.
Building the rhody houseWell, that is the way to go. Half the price and they have fed them for two weeks of their life already. These will also be our layers.
They will be ready to lay by Ground Hogs Day.
We had them under our new brooder and they did great.  (See pictures in previous article.)
Now they are in the Rhody Shelter so named because we are calling them the Rhodys since they are Rhode Island Reds. We still have to put wheels on their shelter so we can move it daily as they grow. We will have layer boxes in the back. They have adjusted very well to their outside home. Although everything is new to them, we are learning and they are learning. 
Notice the Big Delaware in the foreground of the picture.
Yesterday the bundle of broilers arrived. We got them from two different locations. 40 of them we had ordered four weeks ago from Jenks Hatchery in Tangent which is quite close to where we live. And 50 of them we were sent free from Metzler's Hatchery in California. We had attended a Pastured Poultry Workshop last month. Metzler was one of the sponsors and they gave us each 25 chicks. They arrived yesterday at 7:30 AM in the mail. There were four dead ones and 10 others died before morning. Not a very good rate. The Jenks chicks were brought over them their hatchery and none of them died. The Metzler chicks are Rolin S. The Jenks chicks are Freedom Rangers. 
We chose not to go with the Cornish Cross because they are eating machines and they are not as tender. These chicks will be ready in 9-11 weeks. By ready I do mean ready to process. We are going to be selling them for $5.00 a pound which is the going rate for Organic Pasture Raised Chicken. 
We will not get new chicks again until February. We are allowed to raise 1000 of them a year for sale. This enterprise is one of our streams of income but first and foremost allows us and many others to have access to humanely raised chicken, without antibiotics, or any other bad conditions. 

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