The Life of a Chicken: From Newly Hatched to Adult
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What This Photo Essay is About
It is my desire to show you what goes on in the life of a chick raised for meat purposes. I will show you the life progress of 100 "Barbecue Special" chicks from the Murray McMurray Hatchery. This means the batch includes Jumbo Cornish Rock chicks, as well as Cornish Roaster chicks.
These are not going to grow up to be beautiful egg-layers. They will turn into slightly disgusting eating machines, designed to be eaten in turn. Furthermore, they are hybrids, and will not successfully produce offspring of their own.
So if you'd rather not know how this food is raised, skip this article.
Note: The methods of caring for these chicks shown here do not necessarily parallel commercial practices. This is a privately owned farm, and is not a "battery" operation.
Just Fluff Balls
The home for the chicks has been carefully prepared. Miss Heather, their caretaker, has cleaned the chicken hous carefully, sanitizing the walls and floor, so the chicks cannot get disease or possible illness left from the last batch. Every precaution has been taken to ensure the chick's home will be bright, healthy, and comfortable. The floor is made comfortable using wood shavings, which were bought in bags. Rice hulls can also be used.
The chicks are shipped in cardboard boxes by U.S. mail to Miss Heather's local post office, and she must pick them up there, then bring them home.
She has prepared an enclosure of old window screens, to ensure the chicks do not range too far from the brooder and heat lamp, which will do the work of a mother hen's wings until they are old enough to brave the world. They arrive happy, healthy, warm, and dry.
They are fed commercial chick starter, which is a formulation of different grains and proteins, designed to get new chicks off to the best start possible.
To prepare the chicks for their new life, they are shown where their water and food is by dipping their beaks in each, as they are taken out of their shipping boxes.
Also, three tablespoons of sugar is added to each quart of clean water, to provide the chicks with energy to recover from shipping.
These chicks grow extremely fast compared to most other breeds. They are therefore provided with vitamins in powdered form, which can be sprinkled on the food or in the water. Because they grow so fast, and are so gluttonous, their food must be taken away each afternoon, to keep them from overeating. If they are allowed to overeat, they develop congestive heart failure, and also problems with their legs (they don't bear their own weight well, and the legs can break). If their food is not religiously regulated, even if their conditions are otherwise healthy, they become lethargic and do nothing but lie about near their food trays.
Beginning the third day, something called "Baby Grit" is sprinkled on their food. Even baby chicks have gizzards, and so sand is given them to help them digest their food.
With this number of thicks (100), their enclosure must be cleaned every two days, or they develop respiratory problems from the ammonia they produce.
Week Two - Getting Real Feathers
Week Three - Looking Lanky
Week Four - Growing Longer Feathers
Week Five - Getting Bulk; Their Combs Begin to Stand Up
Week Six - Some Are Ready to Roast
Week 7 - Stiff Legs and Lots of Feed
Week 8 - Down the Home Stretch...
Week 9, and the 11th Hour: Time to Say Your Goodbyes, All
Advice on Raising Your Own Flock of Chickens
Computer-Generated Chicken Embryo Development, Day-by-Day
Would you consider raising your own chickens for food?See results without voting
Chickens - Excellent Resource for Chicks
- McMurrayHatchery.com Home Page
The World's Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters. Includes well-known breeds of most kinds of poultry.
© 2009 Joy At Home
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