At 7:45am this morning, the Kendall post office called to say our order of chickens was ready for picking up. I could hear them peeping in the background.
When I picked them up, the post master said "This batch is alive. The last batch was all dead."
Um, yikes. OK, well I'm glad they all made it!
On the drive home I could hear the chickens of course, but what made me smile the most was above the chicken noise I could also hear one of our 4 turkeys peeping, a very different peeping noise that starts low and rises in pitch and volume with each peep, usually in a string of 4:
peep, Peep, PEep, PEEP!
Our very first batch of 63 Jumbo Cornish Cross broilers (meat chickens) and four Blue Slate turkeys from Cackle Hatchery have now taken up residence in a kiddie-pool-turned-brooder.
Papa Bear in all his awesomeness whipped up a PVC waterer that will allow us to water them via 5-gallon buckets, rather than constantly cleaning out those smaller chicken water fonts that they get filthy dirty in about 2 minutes.
I was worried they wouldn't catch on to the new watering system but I needn't have. Those tiny drips of water hanging off the poultry nipple were awfully enticing, and soon a whole crowd of peeps were drinking eagerly.
I could sit and watch day-old chicks all day long.
But alas, there were 300 bales of hay to pick up from the field, and a crew already hard at work. So I left the peeps in the garage and headed to the hay field.
Hard to believe these tiny chickens will be ready for harvest in 8 short weeks. I'm not sure I like that actually, in order to breed in all that fast-growing breast meat, this breed tends to have lots of physical problems ranging from leg issues to heart attacks.
We hope to mitigate these issues through extraordinary management techniques including getting these little chickens on pasture by 3 weeks of age, where they will be moved every day to new grass and have plenty of green grass, sunshine and bugs to help keep them healthy and happy until harvest.