Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy two week birthday (or should I say hatchday?)

The broilers were hatched two weeks ago today.  They've grown like crazy.  When we first got them they seemed so tiny and light weight.  When you grabbed one it was like holding a ball of fluff.  Now, you can feel the meat on them.

They eat a lot!  On average I fill the feeder three times a day.  It doesn't normally get empty, but they get it low and kick a lot of pine shavings in there.  The water is even worse.  They make a mess out of it.  If I had to guess, I'd say that it needs to be changed every two hours.  Needless to say, I got tired of doing that.  So I got some PVC pipe and made another waterer with poultry nipples.

It's basically just a smaller version of the last one I made.  I'm even using another 5-gallon bucket for a reservoir.  It didn't take long for them to figure it out.  I've seen several of the birds drink from it.  I did some reading though and you're supposed to have one poultry nipple for every three birds.  The pipe I made only has two nipples.  That'll be fine once I get them in to the yard, but right now I still have 16 birds, so it isn't enough.  I'm hoping to get rid of 10 of these guys fairly soon.  It was always the plan to just raise 6 of them.

So aside from eating and drinking a lot, how are they doing?  Pretty good I guess.  They've gotten a lot of feathers.  They can be somewhat annoying.  They chirp a lot.  It was cute at first, but now it's a constant chirp chirp chirp.  They've also gotten real nervous and jumpy.  If I walk past the crate or try to get a tool off the pegboard they freak out and crowd into a corner.  They do that when I'm giving them food and water as well. 
He won't get us if we hide in the corner.

I think this was shortly after I cleaned the water.  It doesn't take them long to make a mess of it.

They are developing some nice feathers.
I had to change the litter in the bottom of the cage tonight.  I think I went 10 days (maybe it was 7) before having to change it the first time.  I need to start changing it more frequently now.  I was surprised at how packed down it was.  The bottom inch or so was a soggy mess.  I don't know if all that liquid was from their waste or if they are spilling water or what.  In any case, I filled an entire 5-gallon bucket and added it to the compost pile.  I'm not going to let it go to waste.

I'm ready to get them out of the garage.  In another week they'll be ready to go into the yard.


  1. General rule is to keep the water at the same level as their chest. That would be a stack of blocks! Sometimes I use a cinder block in the yard. Hard to do here.

    1. I put the water up on another brick. So far so good.