[Posted first: November 14, 2006 ~ note combined 2 entries here]
I thought since I am on the forums sharing some of my Chicken knowledge, I’d stick some old pictures up in my blog so you can get a small glimpse of what we do here on this farm.
First a picture of my cutest chicks!
Next is a shot of the feeders and water system with 2 day old chicks. Since the picture is small, I’m not sure if you can see, but under the large red thing (the feed pan) there is a huge metre wide strip of paper. We “flood” the paper with chicken feed. That way we try to minimize the chicks that starve to death when their yolk sac is finished. The yolk sac lasts around 2 – 3 days. Those mornings its a bit of a dread to head out to the barn. If the company lied and didn’t get your chicks to you on time (so they didn’t get to the feed quick enough), or if the hen’s the eggs came from were really old(old hens lay eggs that often have bacteria in them and it lives in the yolk sac, so when the sac is all consumed the chick dies of “poisoning”)… you can find a barn with lots of dead chicks. My worst experience was over 1000 dead chicks one morning. It was my third flock, and I was sobbing after the first hundred. Yet I had to keep going back in, picking them up and counting them. Each chick is accounted for if at all possible.
Last we have a shot of the length of the barn. I am not too sure how clear this will look to you. At this point the lighting intensity is very high. Since these are Meat chickens, it is a “free range” farm. I will also post a picture of the inside of the barn on Chicken Ship day. The lighting is very low then, and the picture will be worse, but you will be able to see that there really is a LOT of space for these chickens, even at full size!
I know that in the past I have described the things I have to do on Chicken ship night. It is a very busy time!
Anyhow… as I stated in the previous post, I thought I would share these older pictures so that you can get a glimpse of what I see then!
These pictures are from the beginning of the year.
First I have a picture of the inside of the barn. This is the second floor. The lighting is very low, and I couldn’t use the flash. The lights are at 0.5 Candle Watts. Very very dim. It helps settle the chickens and prevent un-necessary death. So… You can see on the top of the right side a clump of white. That is the mature chickens. They huddle. You can see another clump of chickens on the front left of the picture. The brown is litter. That gets cleaned out the same day. It is basically straw. I’ve been in barns that use wood shavings too. I prefer the shavings, but it is much more difficult to distrbute and is often used in barns where the chickens stay longer. Our current barn the flocks stay for around 6 weeks. I used to grow barns where the chickens were there for over 20 weeks. The wood shavings “last” better.
You can see in the top of the picture, very vaguely, the water and feed lines. They are cranked up. Usually we use a heavy duty drill to do this… have to stumble around in the dark, etc… but I have had it a few times at this barn that I have to raise the 400 ish feet long lines by hand. That is times 12… (six lines upstairs and six lines downstairs). That… is … not fun!
Here is an up close and personal shot. I am standing on the ground looking up. The birds are handed out one of the barn side doors and loaded into crates. They are 6 to a crate. They used to do more to a crate… then they went to less… but they found that the birds were getting “frozen” to death by the winds on the highway. We work for the best company up here in regards to caring for the chickens. You can see in the second picture the truck heading to the front of the farm (you can see the Dairy barn in the picture, looking away from the Chicken barn. The house is to the right but even more in front of the Dairy barn). The truck is all blue… That is because they pull insulated curtains around the chicken crates, to help protect the chickens.