Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chickens Update: 8-Week Weigh-in

We've got some good news to report on our chickens.  The gimpy one has regained its balance enough to rejoin the rest of the flock, which means our little bumper bowling-type chicken run worked!  (Or at least, it kept the chick upright enough that it could eat and drink while it got over whatever was causing its balance problems.)  Also, our fall batch of red ranger chickens will be eight weeks old on Monday, so we wanted to check in with their actual weights and see how they were doing in their goal of becoming heavy enough to put in the freezer by ten weeks.

On Halloween, some of the chickens turned into scary monsters and rampaged through the brooder box.  Fortunately, they only preyed on the feed in the trough, which probably means they weren't all that scary.  But just to make sure we weren't skewing the weigh-in results, we waited until Saturday to weigh them so any residual monsterly effects would have time to wear off.
We had our kitchen scale, but the little boat it came with wouldn't hold a chicken.  So we improvised with a cylindrical metal device that doubled as a prop for some poetic foreshadowing.
Other than the outliers, the chickens ranged from 3.5 to 5.5 lbs.  (The bar on the far left is the gimpy one, which was sometimes stuck upside down when it should have been eating, and the bar on the far right is the 'rare breed,' which we think might be an Araucana.  We're starting to think twice about butchering that one with the rest of them since it's so small.  What a difference between the meat and non-meat breeds!)  The roosters were generally heavier than the hens, as expected, although there were a couple of hefty girls that were bigger than the scrawniest rooster.  For the most part, it looks like we're still on track for a butcher date in a couple weeks.  Hooray!

We're about a quarter of the way into the fifth bag of feed. That means we're at a feed conversion ratio of about 3.2, which is considerably better than what we estimated a couple weeks ago.  For the next batch, we'll probably keep a record like this every week so we can more easily track their progress and feed conversion ratio. 

Have you raised a batch of red rangers?  What were your numbers for growth rate and feed conversion ratios?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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