For years, we have raised our own beef for food.
Last year, I bought chickens to give me eggs.
In a couple of weeks, my bees will arrive.
Friday, my meat chickens arrived.
I ordered my chicks from Nelson’s Hardware Store in Cave Springs, AR. Tim, the owner, is a former high school classmate and all around good guy. His daughter, Simonee, also works at the store and helped me coordinate the order. You’re probably wondering why I ordered from a hardware store instead of directly from the hatchery. It was for convenience, price, and because I wanted to see Tim and his store.
When you order from a hatchery, the chicks are sent via postal service to your local post office. When they arrive, you get a call to come and get them. Our little post office is only open a few hours in the morning, so that would not work for me. Tim let me come at my convenience, he got a better price than I would’ve gotten and I enjoyed seeing him and his store (which is a lot more than just hardware!)
The chicks are one day old when they are shipped. They ship them with no food or water because newborn chicks can live up to three days living on the yolk they absorbed before hatching.
I had my brooder (home for baby chicks) ready before I got them home. You can buy a brooder box with all the fixin’s, but I just made one from a water tub we weren’t using. I’ve seen people use large cardboard boxes, kiddie swimming pools, and old aquariums. I have 25 chicks, so I think they will enjoy having the extra space.
The brooder is in the barn, out of the wind and cold, and covered so no cats will be able to jump in. And believe me, they’ve been looking.
I placed some pine shavings on the bottom of the tub and placed 2 heat lamps, 2 feeder troughs and 2 waterers in the tub.
Annie is making sure everything is just right.
The chicks had already been eating and drinking at Tim’s, so they knew what to do when I put them in the brooder. Otherwise, they have to be shown food and water making sure they learn how to eat and drink. They usually get it, but sometimes there will be one or two that are a little slow. This will be their home for the next 2-3 weeks.
I chose to raise Cornish Cross due to the fact that they are bred to be quick growers (they will be ready to process in 8 weeks). This is the breed of chicken you find in the supermarkets. I have been told there is a difference in taste (meaning they will have a taste!) and I’m sure there will be because, in 2-3 weeks, they will move to a chicken tractor out in the pasture– complete with green grass, GMO-free feed, fresh water and sunshine.
For now, though, they just need to eat and grow.