Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day Old Chicks!

Our day old chicks arrived today! It was a bit of an effort for the delivery guy. I had to meet him at the nearest intersection but he thinks he'll find the place when the next delivery is due. These chicks are broiler chicks which means they are especially bred for producing meat. The Afrikaans word is 'Braaikuikens' which directly translates to 'BBQ Chickens' which kinda fits them better. You don't hear 'broil' much these days...In my world anyway.

All 100 arrived in this little box this morning.

  They are so cute and fluffy...
And one day we'll eat them!

I let them run around at first,
but they need to be kept in an enclosure for the first few days.

They have a special feeder so they don't foul up their food
 and miniature little water founts so they don't drown

These broilers will be ready for the abattoir in just 42 days! they have a special diet of starter, grower and finisher mash to maximise their growth. I am very much still learning about chickens and although I've done what I can to make sure they are kept happy and healthy some may not make it. We'll just have to see what happens. The layer chickens are doing fine. One died. My worker said it had a floppy neck and wasn't doing well...so he ate it.

 So one month and one fatality isn't too bad at all. I'll give a tally of eggs produced at the end of the month, next Monday, for whoever is interested . So glad to have this project functional. Still lots to do though.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We Got Chickens!!

Things have been moving at lightning speed here on the farm at TLC. So let me first get you up to speed with our free range chicken facility!
One of this years main projects was our free range chicken facility sponsored by PPC Cement. The facility consisting of five 15m x 6m meter steel structures is designed to supply all of TLC's needs in terms of chicken meat and eggs.

We ran a bit over budget so stopped just short of getting our laying chickens but with the help of donations from Cornerstone Church to which one of our volunteers, Alanna Aughenbaugh, belongs and long time supporter Mabel Noyen, we are able to get the whole project online.

With this help we were able to buy feed and bedding and collected 100 point of hens which are currently producing about 35 eggs per day and should increase to about 75 per day. They have a 400 square meter open range where they can wonder around during the day. The funds also helped us fence off the last two ranges.

They huddled together when I first got them home.

They soon started inspecting the place.

 I don't think they've ever seen the sky before,

They stayed pretty close to the shed for the first few days.

These were their first 21eggs!

The day old chicks have been ordered and will arrive on the 25th of January. Everything is ready for them and I'm hopeful all will go to plan.

We are still awaiting quotes for the concrete floors which will be installed as soon as possible.

We've also decided that we will close off the area between the ranges and with the help of one of our corporate sponsors, Ricoh, we will stock those areas with ostriches. Among other benefits, they will provide a bit of security for the area down there as the facility is in the furthest corner of our 22 acres.

 Ostriches are very territorial with big clawed toes that are a significant deterrent to anyone wanting to scale the wall. I intend on keeping two males and four females separated into two sections running between the 5 structures and ranges.