Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week 10 - And Then There Were 45 / New Coop

It seems that my efforts to prevent the spread of the sickness worked because its been a week and no other chickens got sick, thank God! However the sick chicken progressively got worse and worse but refused to die.  One day I went to check on him and he looks so dehydrated that I literally had to stick his beak in the water and force him to start drinking. The next day he was drinking a little and even a tiny bit. After 8 days I was sure he was going to eventually pull through or he would have died 2 or 3 days earlier. So I was a little surprised, but relieved, that he died the following day. I assume that the 5-6 days are in normal conditions without any help, so unfortunately my trying to help him out probably prolonged his suffering. At least the other 45 chickens are all healthy.

Last week I switched the chickens feed from Grower to Finisher. This week I can tell that they have put on some weight. The roosters are starting to crow in the morning and they are also starting to get more aggressive with one another. I think I will process them out soon and give the hens a little more room. Looks like the feed I bought is just barely going to be enough or I might have to get one more bag for the hen's last few days. If I can stretch out the feed I will come in right at my projected feed budget.

On an unrelated note I have been working on a new chicken coop for the last few weeks to make a little extra money. I tried a new design thinking it would work well for a slide out liter tray, but half way through the build I got frustrated with the design and changed things up. I was originally going to have only wire mesh on the top portion of the sides but thought that wind blowing through the coop right where they would be roosting would not be a good idea. So I filled it in with plywood. The trim was a mess because of how I did the legs on the outside (to accommodation the slide out liter tray, which I decided not to do either). And because I have no vents now I needed to make my window open instead of fixed. All told I put so much time and labor into fixing my mistakes that I could never recover by selling it. But it turned out okay I think.

I ended up using the new coop for my Maran chicks that are now 6 weeks old. I needed to get them out of the brooder box but I was trying to get some grass seed started in the grow out pen and it needs another week or two before I can put the chicks in there. So I put them in the coop and just kept them in there for a week. They seem to like it a lot cause there is more room for them. They are noticeably more active and alert than the meat chickens were at this age, but they are much smaller of course. Two of them have already managed to roost on the top roost bar that looks out the window.   

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