Culling the Flock

June 2, 2009 at 11:40 pm 4 comments

From egg to table in just over three weeks.  I accomplished this little miracle of poultry raising through the barter system and the two (not six) degrees of separation* one finds in very small towns.

In just two weeks the chicks outgrew the stock tank I was keeping them in.  I had a very large box that a beanbag chair had come in.  I caught the six or so tamest chicks and transferred them to the peep holding pen (i.e. five-gallon bucket).  Then I pulled out the little partridge rock that I’d nursed back to health and another three to make ten.  I took the remaining eleven chicks and put them in the box.  The ten I wanted to keep went back into the stock tank.

There was an immediate difference in the atmosphere in both brooders.  The keeper chicks, selected mostly for tameness, were calm and curious when I fed and watered them.   Most would eat from my hand and allow me to touch them and the one I’ve named Clover loves to hop into my hand.  The cull group was noticeably wilder and much more prone to fits of peepish panic – not just when I reached in to feed or water them, but also when unexpected sights or sounds disturbed them.

Despite the fact that I had considered sending at least of few of the cull flock to a local processing plant in the spirit of culinary experimentation, the “better place” they ended up going off to is a local farm where they’ll spend their days as free range egg layers.

The ten three-week-old keepers are now safely ensconced out back in Fort Peepage** – my small, but (I hope) well fortified backyard coop.  We haven’t started the run yet, but a six by eight foot coop is plenty of room for ten, three-week old pullets.

Here are a few pictures.  Fort Peepage sits under the oaks in our fenced back yard.  The gravel pad to the left will be the future covered run (aka the parade ground).

FortPeepageFromDeck

 FortPeepage

FutureParadeGround

MessAndBarracks

*     Where we live you can not meet someone new without finding that they
       know or are related to at least one other person you know well.  This is
       both a blessing and a curse.

**  A play on the F Troop’s Fort Courage – where everyone turns chicken.

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Entry filed under: dogs, minnesota, Uncategorized.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gina Spadafori  |  June 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I have coop envy.

  • 2. H. Houlahan  |  June 3, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Me three. But check out this:

    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/grd/1199967671.html

    I can’t afford what he wants for it, though it is a very fair price.

    And I think our hills might be the cause of coop tragedy if we were to go the wheeled route.

  • 3. H. Houlahan  |  June 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    You know, when those fuzzballs grow up, it’s going to be Fort Cluckage.

    Just sayin’ is all.

  • 4. SmartDogs  |  June 4, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Oh – but that’s EVEN better!

    Also, based on the comb/wattle development on one of the keeper buff orps it could also be Fort Crowage. I was going to call him Sven (he’s blonde and this *is* Minnesota) but do you think Agorn would be more apropos?

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