welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Friday, June 12, 2009

my how they've grown!

Yesterday was the first day that the broilers were allowed to go outside. At 4 weeks old, they finally seemed like they were ready. It was a bit damp and rainy, but a few of the braver souls ventured out between showers. They enjoyed pecking around and looking for nasties goodies in the grass, such as worms, grubs, slugs, etc. I've kept bantams for four years, but this is my first foray into raising meat birds - specifically Cornish Rock crosses. Compared to egg-layers, these broilers are awkward and somewhat fragile, growing faster than they can feather out (a bit pathetic, really), hence being kept inside for so long. Next year, my choice of meat birds will likely be a standard heavy breed such as Barred Rocks. They'll probably take twelve weeks to reach a good size rather than the eight for broilers, but since I'm not pushing for quick turn-around, that's okay. I'll be a lot more comfortable with the "normal" growth rate and increased vigor.

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