Rescue meaties had a field trip and watermelon picnic

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by gritsar, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    It was free range time for the babies this evening and I made everyone leave the brooder; not just the chicks that are already used to going out, but everyone. A few of the the meaties have been refusing to leave the comfort and security of the brooder. I just picked their little fluffy butts up and plopped them down outside.
    I'm finding that these commercial birds don't have a clue about being a chicken. I'm having to educate them on catching bugs. I had to show them that the food I was feeding them by hand (watermelon) was the same thing as what was on the plate right in front of them. Most importantly I'm having to teach them to go back to their brooder at dusk. My layer chicks do this automatically and so do some of the meaties. The rest of the meaties just sit in the grass peeping away. I turn the porch light on and have to herd them "go to the light" "go to the light" [​IMG]
    Anyhow, I took these pics. You'll have to excuse the messy feathers. It seems even in the world's cleanest brooder (which mine is not) a meat bird can find a way to get dirty.

    A scaredy chicken:

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    My favorite of the cockerels, Baby:

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    Is this stuff edible?

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    Must catch bugs! Must catch bugs!

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    YUM! The food is better here than it was in our last digs:

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    EEK! Don't look, it's a silkie in the half feathered stage! (At least this silkie, Ellie Mae, doesn't think she's a meat bird the way my other silkie does!)

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  2. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Those meaties are so funny/cute looking... [​IMG]
    When we get ours this fall..i'm not even gonna LOOK at them.... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:They are kinda funny looking, with their big ol' bodies and little bitty heads still covered in fuzz. To hear a baby peep come out of them is even funnier. Baby looks like he should be crowing already, but he peep peep peeps.
    P.S. Considering I also have turkens and silkies in the brooder, funny-looking is the new normal for me. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  4. Cattitude

    Cattitude Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:They are kinda funny looking, with their big ol' bodies and little bitty heads still covered in fuzz. To hear a baby peep come out of them is even funnier. Baby looks like he should be crowing already, but he peep peep peeps.
    P.S. Considering I also have turkens and silkies in the brooder, funny-looking is the new normal for me. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Miz Red, I just saw your edit. All I can say is, be prepared to get your heart broken. These meaties at least are the sweetest chickens I have ever owned; sweeter than my brahmas even.
     
  6. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    Those pictures are WONDERFUL! I have been reading all your meatie threads keeping track of what has been happening with meaties that are not being processed at an early age. I am not against meat birds, believe me I love me some chicken, but it is interesting to see a different approach in letting them live their life as long and happy as they can. Plus the temperment stories make me want to go out and get some myself!! Of course I wouldn't just because I couldn't handle early death very well, but I love reading your stories about these chickies. They look so cute and happy I am glad you got them! Will be watching as you put out updated threads [​IMG]

    I do have a question though.. If Cornish X typically die from weight/health issues at such an early age, how do they get roosters and hens to breeding age? Just curious [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Quote:Miz Red, I just saw your edit. All I can say is, be prepared to get your heart broken. These meaties at least are the sweetest chickens I have ever owned; sweeter than my brahmas even.

    [​IMG] Its not going to be easy... I'm just going to avoid them as much as i can... [​IMG]
     
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:That's a question I'd have to ask my commercial chicken farmer neighbor. I recall he and I having a conversation awhile back about the commercial breeding houses. He talked about the roosters strutting their stuff in front of tons of hens. That was perhaps 20 years ago though; before the chickens were as genetically modified as they are today. Back then they processed them at 16 to 18 weeks, 20 maybe. Today they are ready for processing at 6 to 8 weeks.
    I thought it sounded mean of me to be forcing them out the door when they would prefer to stay in the brooder, but believe me it's for their own good. I'm convinced that the key to survival for these meaties is to get outside and free range. Sitting in front of a feeder all day is not at all good for them. They have their genetics against them. I'm trying to swing enviroment in their favor. [​IMG]
    I'm enjoying them very much. Each time I see one use his/her legs for something other than sitting on is a small victory for me (and them). [​IMG]
    ETA: My DH tells me that in the commercial houses they can pick up any one hen and set her outside and that chicken will do anything and everything she can to get back inside. They find comfort in what they know and are used to; even if it is an overcrowded commercial house. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  9. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    I do have a question though.. If Cornish X typically die from weight/health issues at such an early age, how do they get roosters and hens to breeding age? Just curious

    They're grown on very restricted diets , males and females kept on seperate schedules and rations , with weekly weigh-ins to determine if they're growing at the prescribed rate , and diets adjusted as necessary . Even once breeding commences and the roos and hens are together , the males feed from overhead feeders that the females can't reach and there are covers over the female's feeders that are too narrow for the males to get their heads through . They are a little like battery layers in that they are replaced at around 60 weeks because its no longer feasible to keep them . They are kept at about the same weight as meaties fed for processing would be at 7 or 8 weeks . Sometimes a practise called " spikeing " is used in which about half of the roosters are replaced with younger ones half way through the cycle to keep fertility up .​
     
  10. Serrin

    Serrin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:They're grown on very restricted diets , males and females kept on seperate schedules and rations , with weekly weigh-ins to determine if they're growing at the prescribed rate , and diets adjusted as necessary . Even once breeding commences and the roos and hens are together , the males feed from overhead feeders that the females can't reach and there are covers over the female's feeders that are too narrow for the males to get their heads through . They are a little like battery layers in that they are replaced at around 60 weeks because its no longer feasible to keep them . They are kept at about the same weight as meaties fed for processing would be at 7 or 8 weeks . Sometimes a practise called " spikeing " is used in which about half of the roosters are replaced with younger ones half way through the cycle to keep fertility up .

    I know this is all somewhat necessary to keep our over populated planet fed. But let's face it. That has got to be a miserable life. [​IMG]

    I heartily support what you're doing Kat. Keep up the good work. I just wish more people across this country could do what you're doing and reconnect with their "food" animals. Maybe less of dinner would go to waste if one understood what went into making it from start to finish. [​IMG] At least we could always hope so.
     

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