Saturday, June 25, 2011

What's Up Chicken Butt or The Strange Progress of the Gigantichicks

One week
Two weeks.
Three weeks.
Four weeks.

Five weeks.
I cannot stop staring at our Cornish Cross chicks. They seem to grow in some kind of fast forward time loop. In the morning when I feed them their corn/wheat/crumble breakfast they seem to have grown 20% while
sleeping. I have started calling them the Gigantichics (in my mind it is pronounced like the voice over on a Godzilla preview).
Mr. B is very satisfied with the yummy looking progress of the "crunchy chicks".
Looking down on this feeding frenzy I can get a side by side comparison of the Gigantichick next to their peer, the Cuckoo Morans (who are only 5 days younger) is a shocking thing to behold first thing in the morning.

The Cuckoo Morans chicks are right in there with them peeping and pecking as fast as they can but they finish filling their craw much sooner and patter off into the woods to take a nap under mom and then off to peck at bugs.
Gigantichicks on the other hand keep eating and eating and eating until the food is all gone. They don't seem to know when to stop. Their craw fill up and stretch out from their necks so far that they are just pink skin sprinkled with feathers.

These observations make me glad I chose to have a hen raise them. If I had raised them myself in a pen or even let them out to free range with free choice food, I know they would have sat next to the feeder all day long.
Three week old Cuckoo Morans chicks practice roosting on a little stick. They are so petite they look like little Robins. In the background you can see the yellow blob of a single Cornish Cross chick napping in the grass.
But the fact that I only feed them as much as they can eat in 10 minutes in the morning keeps them on the move with their mother looking for delectable bits from nature for the rest of the day. They are not all that brave (which is smart) about going very far from the pen by themselves. They only go into the back forty because they are with a mother hen that knows where the yummy bits are and takes them there.

All day long I keep watching them as they work their way through the long grass like eating machines, combing the earth for anything they can swallow. They are truly quintessential foragers. Chowing down weeds, grass and any bug that might haplessly fly/crawl/creep within feet of the Gigantichic.

I must admit that I realized around week 3, that I needed to increase their grain a bit when I saw how beleaguered their poor mother was looking.

The Gigantichicks are so hard to keep fed that she was working herself too hard trying to find enough food to keep them happy. So I started feeding them a little in the evenings too. She seems to be more sane now.

I am curious to see just how long it takes for them to reach adult size on this current food strategy.
I am not in a big hurry to butcher them like commercial farms are. I want to see them have the best life they can, whatever that window of time is. But at this rate of growth it is looking an awful lot like 9 weeks at the outside.

1 comment:

  1. Wow it really is amazing how fast those cornish cross chicks grow.


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