Early in the Spring (or late in the Winter) I ordered 250 layer pullets. Then I got cold feet and sold 175 of them at 8 weeks. That worked out well in some ways. It covered my expenses so the 75 or so I kept were basically free but in other ways it didn’t work out so well. I still don’t have enough birds to meet the demand for my eggs.
So we ordered more pullets. It took a couple of tries to find a break in the weather and a hatchery that could fill my order on short notice. I was looking for 100 sex-link pullets, no Whammies. At the last minute I called Cackle Hatchery to find out what they had left. They could ship 35 Cinnamon Queen and 5 Red Sex-Link. Sold. Then I called Schlecht. Schlecht closes at 4:30 on Friday. Etta didn’t answer the phone. I did get her by email. She promised 25 Golden Comet pullets. 65 birds. I can make do with 65 birds.
The Cackle order arrived Wednesday morning but was short by 10 birds. We are expecting another shipment on Friday. The Schlecht order arrived early Thursday morning. They were a little sluggish but looked good and there were 5 extra birds! A few minutes under the heat lamp and they were ready to go.
I have talked about this before but here’s the setup again. They are in our 8×8 outdoor brooder. It is easy to warm, easy to get into and comfortable for the birdies. We use nipple waterers because they stay clean. The chicks figure them out almost immediately.
We give them broiler mash in trays for the first few weeks. I want to get them off to a good start. After day two they get creek sand to get their gizzards off to a good start. We try to give them constant access to fresh greens. Today I dropped in two big handfuls of alfalfa chaff from the hay wagon. Just like you, chicks need to eat their greens.
These birds will remain in the brooder for 2-3 weeks depending on the weather. Then we’ll move them out to pasture where the older pullets are and pop them into chicken tractors. That will give them a chance to grow out without being picked on by the bigger birds but will also give them a chance to socialize with the bigger birds a little bit. By being on pasture they will get the best possible nutrition and will always leave their manure behind. Raising them on pasture really makes a bird that can’t be beat in terms of health. Our future flock, your future eggs. Healthy birds.