Monday, February 7, 2011
Meat chooks and veggie patch news ...
They started their lives as cute little yellow chicks, 24 of them, they looked a little lost inside the box. Meat chooks the man from the Hatchery said, all they do is eat, drink, sleep and grow. Not very active at all. This is my first ever opportunity dealing with meat birds, so it's been a learning curve. My first post on them was 19-11-10
First lesson work out a better time to get the chicks. Our summers here get very hot then keeping the bird from getting heat exhaustion is a fulltime job. Unfortunately I did loose one bird but managed to resuscitate 2 little chookies, they were so nearly gone. Your looking at 14 weeks of fattening the bird and slaughtering them.7 weeks on Chick starter, then another 7 on grower mash. And maybe another week or two if they still too small
Lesson no2, 12 birds is more than enough.
Lesson no3, you need a bigger deep freeze, so I had to go buy a chest styled one only it has a pull out draw at the bottom, works like a dream. Bargain shopping at Laws Auction "buy now"
This little rooster has a fine looking drumstick don't ya think. I going to find it difficult doing the deed, cause they rather sweet in their own way. Every afternoon the gate is opened wide, and they love coming out the front. We removed two of the side panels and hinged it so come night time they can be locked up safe from mr Fox. A few star pickets and some bird wire makes a little run for them, and some shade cloth over the top for a cool/windy spot to sit in.
They know the garden hose well cause they get cooled off enough times, it just got so hot 42degress the last week.(I even took time off from work to make sure they allright) So far this week it's been bearable. They so cute when I rounding them up, waddle 6 steps, and lie down for a rest. But it is hard work making sure they got cool water all the time and food to eat. A sprinkle of clean new saw dust bedding daily just before they go to bed for the night.
Weekends I get to dig out the spent saw dust (stinky job)and fill up the compost bin with it. Last seasons composted sheep poo and hay has broken down nicely and most of it is now in the raised bed where we planted the sweet corn in. Plus a few wheel barrows of the new chook sawdust to fill up the bed again, the bed is still to hot to plant in atm. I am thinking of planting some potatoes in there.
With some shade cloth we covered just more than half of the veggie patch. Fernando our landlord kindly donated some black plastic hose to form an arch over the patch. It's been a struggle to keep the patch alive. Tomatoes has died down, cucumbers are finished, pumpkins have boar the fruit. I cooked all the pumpkin making pumpkin puree, ziffy bagged it ready to make pumpkin pie or scones. The beans had a good crop which I cut up, bagged and froze. A new batch of seedlings have gone in, beans, tomatoes, leb cucumber,chinese cabbage and broccoli, red banana peppers and beetroot.