Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Backyard broiler update -- Week 9

I mentioned last week that the birds were looking kind of lazy and that they were spending a lot of time laying down.  So this week I decided to start letting them out into the yard. 
They loved the mulch on this island.
Here they are in the grass.
They haven't had total freedom.  I decided to start by letting them out in the evening for an hour before it got dark.  The first time I tried it the layers were out.  They didn't take kindly to the new birds on their turf.  I'm not sure why.  They've been snooping around the tractors since I put them in the yard.  Anyway, there was some fighting and pecking.  Since then I've been keeping the layers separated by fencing them into their area by the coop.

I've only been letting the 4 broilers from the original tractor out.  That one has a door on it which enables them to go back in on their own.  The new tractor only has access from the top.  They don't wander far.  They're too big.  They're all wobbly and and unstable.  Supposedly they can grow to live weight of 6 lbs.  The last ones I processed were 3.5 lbs when done.  I don't know what they weighed live, but I have hard time imagining them getting much bigger.  I'll find out soon enough. 

I thought I got all of the males last weekend.  I think I might have one more.  I have one bird with a small red comb.  It's smaller than what the other males had, but bigger than what the rest of the birds have.  Unless he starts making noise I'm going to hold off on processing him for another week.  I need a week off of doing that.

As for food, we got a bag of 16% feed on July 15.  It was $13.74.  After seeing them stumble around the yard I thought that maybe a lower percentage of protein wouldn't be a bad thing for the last two weeks.  I don't know if it'll make much of a difference or not.  
Freedom Ranger at 9 weeks.

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