Friday, July 17, 2009


We had a surprise last night, while we slept - about three inches of rain. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing, and we needed it desperately. It was completely unexpected though (at least by me) and we now have hell to pay for not being prepared for it.

For starters, we left all sorts of things out that shouldn't have been out. Feed, bags of charcoal, tools, etc. Now, this isn't that uncommon here in summer because rain is a rarity, but that's no excuse. We should know better. It's nothing too tragic, just a nuisance, and some minor waste.

What was more tragic were the three dead chicks in the rooster pen this morning. They've been outside since about three weeks of age (they're six weeks now), which is not normally an issue because it's so hot here, even at night, but the unexpected rain and cooler temperatures did a few of them in. Or so I thought, anyway. One was dead for certain, but after a closer look, I discovered that two were still breathing. I brought them inside, cleaned the mud off them and wrapped them in a towel. I still have the chick brooder set up upstairs, so right now they are resting in there, under the heat lamp. I have no idea whether that will help, or if there's any hope for them. We'll just have to wait and see. In any case, I'm annoyed with myself for not paying attention to the weather. It's easy to get complacent when the weather doesn't change for weeks and weeks at a time, but I need to pretend like that's not the case.


This is how they look now, after 45 minutes under the heat lamp. When I put them in there, they were lying on their sides, unable to move, eyes closed, barely breathing, and soaking wet. They're some resilient little buggers! We're not out of the woods yet, but they might be okay after all.


These boys are looking much better and are back outside with their brothers. The Barred Rock went right to work on the food and is happily scratching and pecking away as if nothing ever happened. The Buff is still more subdued, and is hanging out quietly inside their little house. I'll be checking on them throughout the day.


  1. Hey Tara. I wasn't sure if you would check my sight for an answer to your question. I bought the frypan special from cackle hatchery. It is a mix of different heavy breeds. I lost a lot to caniblism. This is probably because I was feeding them crumbles from the feed store which now I know are too low in protein. You don't have your chicks in with grown up chickens do you? i haven't read your blog yet. grown ups eat the babies. But then again they will eat each other too.

    In answer to your question I raised them to 4 months old and you can't believe how little they are when you kill them! They are nothing like you get at the store. If you get the cornish x that is what you buy at the store. Those are killed at NO MORE than 8 weeks old. Yep you guessed it....they are mutants but we have been raised on them and that is what we expect now. My daughter just cooked our last of home raised chicken tonight marinated in an italian dressing/pinapple marinade cooked out over an open fire. If you want what you are used to in the store, plan on cornish x feed a custom broiler feed and killed at no more than 8 wks otherwise they die. But if you begin to harvest your own and you don't plan on using one of the electric feather picking machines, then you can let the chicks get bigger...maybe 5 months before killing them. They will still be smaller and they will be a little tougher unless you stew them. But man ole man do they taste good.

  2. Thanks Sweethearts Mom! We did pretty much the same thing (got an all heavy breed cockerel assortment from McMurray) and are getting ready to butcher our first ones now at about 14 weeks (so 3.5 months). We've never had any problems with cannibalism, although we have lost quite a few to predators. I'll put up a post detailing what we're doing.