Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Chicks Get Split Up

The chicks outgrew their single pool, so I split them up.  I put the laying chicks in one pool and the meat chicks in the other pool.  The differences between the two types of chickens is amazing.  The cornish rock cross chicks (the yellow ones) have been bred to grow fast and be butchered quickly. They feel hefty when I pick them up.  The laying hens feel about one-third the weight and size of them!  

You can see a difference in the chicks in how they approach their food.  The laying hens in the top picture see their food and are picking at it - they're more concerned about me with the camera - while the meat chicks are a solid block of yellow on top of their feeder.  

I tend to slightly underfeed the meat chicks.  I find that, if given the chance, they will almost eat themselves to death.  By slightly underfeeding them (meaning they don't have food available every minute of the day and night) I find that they don't have the fantastically rapid weight gain and growth that leads to feet and leg problems.  These chicks actually grow up and will be able to spend a portion of their lives pecking and running around outside!     


  1. How do you keep them in the swimming pools? Mine were trying to jump out of the brooder. I finally had to put them outside over the weekend. Thankfully they have most of the feathers and have been able to take the cold snap we seem to be having. I agree with you about underfeeding the meat birds. We bought a different type this year which is supposed to take a couple weeks longer to reach butchering size and since they're with my egg layers they always have access to food. I guess we'll see how it goes!

  2. I put chicken wire fencing in a circle around the outside of the swimming pools (right up along side them). You can just barely see it in the photos. It's low enough for me to reach over to feed and water them and high enough that they can't really get out until they're big enough to fly over. Usually by that time they can go out with the rest of the chicken community. Good luck with your meat chickens! Let me know how it goes.