This week the chicks have officially moved outside!
All 13 are now living in the chicken tractor with lots of extra space to run, play, and just be chickens. As they grew in size, they also grew in stink. Of course, this wasn’t their fault, but the smell was starting to be enough to knock you over in the morning upon first entering the garden shed. I knew it was time, when one morning I walked in and one of the chicks was loose in the shed! It had flown over the top of the brooder in the night.
Last week, at about 4 weeks old, the chicks had officially eaten through their first 50 pound bag of feed. I still try to limit their feed to only at daytime (they get about half a feeder full, once per day). I gradually increase this with their size. Since they are outdoors now, they have been enjoying eating fresh grass and a few bugs. They have a large branch in the tractor to roost on, but only about half use it. It gives them something to play on and keeps them happy. The tractor gets pulled onto a fresh spot everyday now, but when they are older, I may move them twice a day or let them out to free range occasionally.
By now, it is crystal clear these are meat birds. They are heavy now; it requires two hands to hold them. Their legs are huge and stocky! By comparison, they are much more active and lively than the Cornish Cross meat chickens. The Rudds love chasing each other and sparring. They are very curious and friendly birds, sometimes coming up to my toddler and letting her pet them! I suspect they will be ready for processing at around 3 months old, but until then, they are enjoying each and every day!