Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 7 - Half Way There

Well the chickens have reached the half way mark. Not much to report this week as it has been mostly uneventful. Except for yesterday morning when Granny Goat somehow nosed her way into the hoop house while I was filling the water bucket and spilled the feed that I had just filled up all over the ground, and the water overflowed everywhere while I was trying to get that stupid goat out without causing a panic and trampling my chickens to death. I could have killed her then and there. Oh well.

Here are some pictures of the chickens I took today as they turned 6 weeks old.

This is Mr. White, as he is the only white bird I have. Oddly enough he is pretty high on the pecking order and commands a little respect from the others.

This is Mr. Brown as he is the darkest colored bird I have. 

The rest of them fall somewhere in between and look like this in coloring. 

This here is Mr. Waddles, as he is the one chicken with messed up legs.

He can waddle around bow legged but prefers not to and mostly lays around. Not sure why this happened to him but he has been this way since week 2 or 3 back in the brooder box. I remember when I saw his legs that I changed the starter feed from 25% to 23% protein because I was afraid they were growing too fast to support their little legs. Odd thing is that his legs and feet are abnormally large compared to the others. I wish I knew what causes this so I can prevent it in the future. If he stays the same he might survive to processing but I am not betting on it at this point.

Anyhow, at the rate they are consuming feed, the 300 lbs. of Grower will not last through 8 weeks. So I ended up buying another 100 pounds today. All told I figure they will go through:
  • 100 lbs. of Starter (3 weeks)
  • 400 lbs. of Grower (5 weeks)
  • 600 lbs. of Finisher (4 weeks)
That's about $350 in feed alone, which is almost $8/bird if 45 survive to processing, which is another $3/bird for a total of $11/bird (not including electricity for heat lamp, gas for transportation, bedding for the bedding, etc.) I figure $3.50/lb. is about as cheap as I can sell them just to break even on each bird. Of course we are going to keep half of them for ourselves, so while we will lose money on those birds, it will be offset by not having to purchase any chicken for a year. Next time I will buy 1000 lb. totes of Grower and Finisher and raise 2 batches about 4 weeks apart to save a little money on feed.

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