October 29, 2010

Our Broiler Babies- Update


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? 

8 comments:

Melody said...

Thanks for posting this. We plan to get broiler chicks and the spring and like you was planning to mix our own feed. I had no idea that bone and fish meal couldn't be bought as individual items...weird. I'm in Indiana too so I suspect I'll run into the same if I try. Thanks for posting this, I'll keep that in mind as we go forward :)

Toodie said...

Sorry to hear the loss of chicks. What do you think caused this? The food or cold? I remember there was a problem with diseases in the 1980's from bone meal from the way it was made. Hmm. I have 9 day old Orpingtons and it is an experience. Hope things get better for you.

Kim said...

We've raised broilers before and it is a different experience for sure! We started incubating our own eggs for our meat chickens...the problem is that now we have about 25 full grown chickens that follow us around everywhere! That's added to our regular laying hens. Broilers in the basement isn't looking too bad at the moment!

Sorry about the loss of some of your chicks...I dislike that part of farming too.

Sarah said...

Toodie- I really think it was from the food. When I brought them in I strung the heat lamp WAY up, because they were just too hot. So I think they were getting adjusted to the outdoor temps (with heat lamp, of course), but I really think the food was the problem. It was some sort of deficiency because they weren't dying right away, they were loosing use of their legs still able to eat. So watch for that in young birds, loosing use of legs would mean they aren't getting some sort of nutrient that their body needs...

Sarah said...

Melody, I was just reading in my book from Joel Salatin, and he mentions brewers yeast, He added some of that after his baby broilers started acting paralyzed and toes started to curl under... He said they snapped out of it then! Hmmmm....

Christine said...

I don't raise broilers because of this. I've not heard many people say they've had a positive experience. If I could get hold of some Freedom Rangers I'd give it a shot though.

Sarah said...

Christine- I don't want this to seem like I haven't had a positive experience, because I have! Like anything on a farm, we have to expect that we will mess up, or animals just die. I have had a VERY positive experience with broilers and will continue to raise them!

Freedom Rangers would be nice, but I will raise what I can as best as I can for now!

Hopefully you will take the plunge someday! :)

Alla said...

I've got buthering chicks that will be ready in about four weeks. I wish I had gotten the broiler ones. I ordered leghorn roosters because they were such bargains. LOL I forgot I had them a long long time ago and they kill each other. They start picking at the pin feathers and draw blood and then they chase that one until they kill him. I've moved ones I seen blood on to another pen until they got better and then put them back but if I missed them I would find a dead chickie in the morning. Some had gotten out and my grandkids dog killed them. So out of 50 I now have 40. Not to good. I will have to watch better.