If you remember about 2 weeks ago, we got 26 broiler chicks. Going from layer chickens to BROILER chickens is a whole new ballgame. They eat a TON more ( I might mean this literally), they smell worse, and they are growing SO rapidly that if they don't get the correct nutrients that they need, they will die.
Unfortunately, that is what happened to a few of mine. I was hoping to make a mix for them, but when I went to the local mill, they notified me that one of the important ingredients (bone meal OR fish meal) was illegal for them to sell. They can sell products with it IN it, but not as a whole ingredient. Not sure if this is only an Indiana thing....? But after my trip to the mill, I came home and gave the chicks the parts that I had. Which in addition to COLD, killed off 7 of my broilers... :( Many of them lost the use of their legs.
I got them actual BROILER starter feed then, and started giving that to them and praying. Sorry at the loss of life to those poor chicks. I HATE that part of farming.
I also brought the chicks BACK into my basement, where they smell it up, BUT are alive. There was one chick, I thought was not going ot make it. It had NO use of it's legs. It couldn't get to the food or water. SO a few times a day, I was going down and helping it get drinks by dunking it's beak in the water. It knew what to do from there. Then when I put it down, I left it by the food. I did this for about 5 or 6 days. Each day there seemed to be some improvement in the chicks condition.
Today, I literally cannot tell which chick he is, he is now healthy and running around with the others.
Lesson learned. It is impossible to make the broiler chick feed with what I have available to me where I live, so I will feed them the chick starter and add the more nutritious stuff, like I did before.
So I have 19 chicks that in about 5 weeks from now will be ready for butcher. It truly is amazing. And something to be thankful for. We won't be raising any more until the weather gets nicer, maybe April or May??? I will never raise any more broilers that I have to keep inside all of the time. Raising them in the pasture is CLEANER and a whole lot tastier!
How about you? Have you raised broilers before? Have you thought about it?