Weaning Chickens

28 May

Just weaned a few chicks today.
Yeah, I know, chickens don’t usually have to be weaned. But we had a few hatch out under one of my Dark Cornish hens, and boy was she one fierce momma!
Under normal circumstances the Dark Cornish hens are one of the most docile and friendly breeds that I’ve worked with. But get a few chicks under them and it’s like Jekyll and Hyde, they’ll attack something much bigger (like me) with no hesitation if one of their chicks are threatened.

So we got the chicks away from momma and put them in the broiler pen with all the other “DIY Cornish Cross” chicks.

I just finished up the first prototype broiler pen today. It’s 10′ x 12′ and about 6′ high in the center.

Here are a few of my adoring fans admiring my handiwork.

Eric and Big Cathy admiring the Broiler Pen

It’s built on a base of 2 2×6 runners with 2x4s cross-members. There are 3 cattle panels that make up the sides/roof, and it’s all covered with a combination of chicken wire and some old tarp that we saved from a “Round Top” Storage building.

After a particularly windy day during the early construction, I made sure to brace the cattle panels with a few strands of wire that tie the 2×6 runners to the highest point of the arch of the cattle panels.  This keeps the bowing, swaying and other unnerving movement to a minimum without adding a bunch of weight.

Broiler Pen

I’m trying out a gravity-fed waterer made from a 5 gallon bucket that feeds 10 or so poultry nipple drinkers. These work pretty great when the chickens finally figure out how to use them. Unlike the big red bowls, or little red cups there is absolutely no way that a chicken can figure how to poop in one of the little drinker nipples. So less work for us, happier chickens. I’d call that a win-win.

Unfortunately the chicks haven’t yet figured out how good they now have it. They were raising quite a ruckus, trying to figure out where momma was and how they could get out of these nice new digs. It sounds like the chicken version of weaning calves.

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  1. Sumthin’ been eatin my chickens! | Green Machine Farm - June 6, 2012

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