Around 5 Months ago I acquired a fully grown female Cornish Rock by jumping out of a truck to get her out of traffic-
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To prove I have a bleeding heart syndrome and a couple of death wishes evidently!
Needless to say I was shocked to find a 15+ LBS Chicken foraging in the middle of nowhere next to a busy road but nonetheless I went down a hill, collected her, and was picked up moments later by my mother.
This resulted in the horridly wonderful mistake that was falling head over heels for this breed as my female has always been fat, healthy, sassy, and active. I house her with a mutt of a rooster, who has a bum leg and no interest in attempting to breed such a large hen, about three more do nothing hens, and a 2 or 3 year old female goat.
I was confused to be gentle about it. Looking online I saw all these guides on raising for meat, people saying they die fast, and all this other information...
The family flock contains Rhode Island Reds and some black breed I can't re-call and a bunch of game hens that wandered on property on day. They switch between penned and loose pardoning my girl who just sits around screeching if the pen gate is open-. Needless to say they're all 'mutts'; or we just say they're Americana. So this hen roosts with the others but is highly independent, she's with the goat more then the other chickens. If I wanted to I could likely assure you that this hen would follow me anywhere, she's a healthy weight and lays 1-2 eggs a day. Sometimes there's pauses for about 48 Hours but ever since I added the rooster to the coop? Egg Galore. He's about half her size and has a bum leg so he has nearly no interest in breeding since he has two other small hens so I've had no reason to fret about her having unneeded weight.
I accidentally mentioned wanting to raise my own Cornish Rocks for laying and pet purposes within Tractor Supply. So my dad instantly said 'That's the breed you have? Get 'em; worth the shot.'
And thus the conversation started as normal with the worker;
"You're the one getting chickens?"
"Yup; 6 Cornish Rocks."
The man paused and looked... a bit concerned. Now I'm a bit younger, so the request might have seemed odd given he's viewing them as Meat Chickens and just saw me near giddy about buying chickens. Nonetheless we clarified that yes; I wanted 6 Large Cornish Rocks. Needless to say this guy thought I didn't understand what these chicken were until I told him I owned one already, showed pictures, and even rambled a bit about my sisters darling Serama girls that we got two years ago and head reared and about my difficulties getting any chicks to hatch this year; I use my sisters serama's to brood normally for the eggs I get from my mothers hens but after a possum went in their pen I can't get the girls to brood on the eggs any longer like they use to.
A female manager walked up, paused, clarified that I wanted Cornish Rocks...
And said if I bought ten she'd only charge .75 Cents a chick instead of 1.00$ a piece for six. I left with a bag of starter feed, bedding, electrolytes (etc-) and 10 Cornish Rocks. 5 younger, 5 older. About the size of my hand for the older ones. Got home, broke out the old raising gear, and now here I am.
Does anybody have little tricks or anything to both help with my new chicks and... to help with my older girl?
I'm planning to keep them as low stress as possible, a fairly decent pen size, and I feed twice a day to all of our chickens; we make them forage from old hay/stirred dirt, clean the pens out and then repeat.
and I think my most important questions are;
Monitoring Heat and Monitoring Feed.
Do I restrict feed with younger ones? Should I keep things at or above room temperature or just keep the heating lamp constantly on?
Why do people insist on restricting feed with them? They forage in their bedding and run along their food and water dishes more then anything? I mean I've raised chicks before and I've never seen them this active; I'm constantly hearing them trying to 'bathe' in the bedding or running around the pen trying to catch my other animals who particularly enjoy this strange new bundle of activity within the home and peer into the cage often.