Week 3 is here and the birds are doing really well. We lost one bird yesterday to unexplained circumstances. He couldn't stand and was very weak and was clearly sick or injured. I removed him from the pen and he died a few hours later. Other than that, the rest are lively and feeding well.
At 3 weeks they are too big to fit them all in the brooder so we turned them out to the chicken yard a bit earlier than last year. They went right to foraging and in the absence of the feeders will hunt and scratch like any chicken. We are keeping an eye on the weather but as long as it stays above 45˚ at night I'm going to avoid trying to put 125 birds back in the brooder. It's attached to the chicken yard but they aren't trained to find it at night and it's a big rodeo to get them all back in if necessary.
I removed their water for increasing lengths of time over 3 days to transition them to chicken nipple drinkers. I feed these drinkers with a 55 gallon drum which virtually eliminates my watering time. I just have to fill it up the drum occasionally. It's tough to tell how much they are drinking but I am guessing about 10 gallons per day.
We have a mystery bird in the flock. It's a fraction of the size of the rest and is more feathered out. It's pure white. I'll post a pic if I can catch it later.
We're going through a little less than 30 lbs of food per day now so the flock is eating $9/day. I'm really quite surprised how much i am noticing the financial impact this year versus last.
My first round of food was 12 x 50 lb bags for $180 which should get me to 4 weeks old. The next 5 weeks are going to be really expensive. I'm going to need 40 more bags of food. SOOOOO, I'm thinking about moving my butcher date up a week. It's currently slated for may 14th but the birds are growing faster than last year's flock and they are all cockerels so I think I may try to butcher on the 7th which will save me $150 and still give me very large birds. Fingers crossed that the chicken plucker is available!