Peeps in Da House

The heat lamp reads blood red on my digital camera, making all the peep pics look like they were snapped inside an active volcano.  The only way I could fix it was to switch to B/W.  Why not turn off the heat lamp?  Because panic ensues.

We are toying with the idea of a month of local eating, but it isn’t set in stone yet.  When we started to discuss the locavore month meat chickens were a part of the talks.  Eventually, it was decided that whether we follow through with locavore month (why capitalize it until it’s certain?) or not we would go ahead with the edible chickens.

As luck would have it, I was spotted by the assistant manager of the feed store when I was pricing feeders and lights and whatnot and she not only gave me some great advice but she let me preorder some Cornish Cross chicks that were coming in the following Friday.

The original plan was to order some Buff Orpingtons or White Plymouth Rocks from a hatchery and have them shipped by mail, because The Storey Guide to Raising Chickens gave me the impression that Cornish Crosses were not ideal for me.  Our girl at the feed store assured me that on standard feed and with a small yard (rather than a battery cage) I would not experience the problems associated with the freakishly fast pace of Cornish Cross growth because a) my birds would not grow as quickly as in a factory farm setting (though still much quicker than an old fashioned breed) and b) I would not be growing them past five pounds live weight (because that equals about four pounds freezer weight, and that’s about all Matt and I can consume in a reasonable number of nights).

So far they are already growing by leaps and bounds.  Today is the fifth day we have had them, which is probably the sixth or seventh day of their life.  On Friday, when I picked them up from the feed store, they were perfect little fuzz-covered peeps, and I scooped them out of the cat carrier two at a time.  By Sunday everyone had little cupid wings (their first wing feathers have sprouted) and I can only grab one per hand. 

When they are feathered out or the weather is very nice (whichever happens first) they will move outside.  But that’s a whole other post.

— Amanda

P.S. More pictures of the chicks can be found in our online photo album.

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