Wednesday, July 17, 2013

They Grow Up So Fast

The chickens will reach a major milestone this weekend- five months of age.  This may seem pretty arbitrary to the city dwelling individual, but to chicken folks this is a huge event.  You see, at between five and six month of age, chickens start laying eggs.  We cannot wait!  I have been hording egg based recipes, we have saved tons of egg cartons and we are ready for some good, rich egg eating.

So, here is a little update on our feathery babies.

First, we have changed up the chickens diet a bit.  At 16 weeks of age, we switched them over to a layer feed from chick feed.  Layer feed contains additional calcium, which helps when we are talking eggs.  We want strong egg shells that do not break when they drop from the chicken.  If we find that their egg shells are still too week, we will add some oyster shells to their diet.

We also started introducing grit to the chickens diet.  Grit is little rocks (ours are granite) that the chickens eat.  Weird, right?  Well, it all makes sense when you realize that chickens do not have teeth.  They need something to break up their food, so the rocks are used in their tummies to grind up food.

With free range chickens, you do not have to worry about this so much because the chickens will find little rocks in your yard to eat.  Our chickens predominantly stay in their coop though so we have to supplement with this.  Also, grit is not generally necessary if you are just feeding your chickens chicken feed.  We however, feed our chickens our table scraps as well so they need the grit.

Finally, we have added a treat to their diet (in addition to their favorite avocado and banana rations) in the way of scratch.  Scratch is a mixture of corn and grains that the chickens absolutely go nuts for.  Corn heats up chickens though so it is better as a winter snack than as a summer one.

Food does a body good!  Check out the size of these chickens.

They clearly know where the food comes from.  If any human walks by the coop, they come running up to you.

So, here's hoping that we have some eggs to debut soon.  We need to make a couple of updates to our nesting boxes before they start laying (they currently like to kick all of the hay out so we need a higher lip at the front of the boxes).  Our fake egg is in place though as a training tool to show the chickens where they should lay.

We will keep you updated!

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