More Layer Pullets

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.

A Pleasant Surprise

I can’t tell you where this came from.  Well, I could but you would get bored.  A co-worker of a friend who goes to my church and works with my sister-in-law….see what I mean?

So a guy got some pullets and found it wasn’t his cup of tea.  He gave them to us along with a nifty little cage he built.  It even has a roost bar built in.

These poor birdies are wondering what happened to their little girl and the life they left behind.  But they’ll be loved and well cared for…and it just happens I have two little girls of my own.

The owner delivered them with the remains of a 40# bag of Nutrena medicated crumbles.  I’m not sure what to do with it.  I don’t even know what Amprolium is…other than a coccidiostat.  These birds are faced with an immediate switch to freshly-ground, whole grain feed with a big dose of Fertrell Nutri-Balancer containing a probiotic and lots of fresh, clean water.  Coccidiostat indeed!  My birds have immune systems and we assault their immune systems regularly…as we do our own.  We don’t put healthy birds on crutches just in case!  For Heaven’s sake, we pasture our birds.  They are exposed to all manner of things the robins bring back from Florida.

Well, with that behind me, these are Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets and appear to be a little over a month old.  Most of the farm supply stores around us buy from Cackle hatchery so it’s a good bet they came from there.  The birds appear healthy, their cage is perfect for three little birds so we did little more than park them in the greenhouse with the other pullets (who welcomed them with open arms) and the ducks (who are very judgemental) and the rabbits (who pretended not to notice).

Thank you for being so generous Jim.  I hope you’ll bring the kids up to see their birds as they grow.  We’ll be sure to let them gather eggs, help us milk or just watch them run and play.  Nothing quite like free-range children.

If it will ever stop raining I’ll get a shovel full of dirt and grass for the birds to pick at.  That ought to give their digestive and immune systems something to do.