The Saxonies were not successful mothers this growing season so we do not have much poultry in the freezer. To correct the shortage I ordered 20 Cornish Cross chicks from a local chicken and turkey farmer. Following the management advice of Kelli and Andy at Chicken Thistle Farm our chicks have eaten yogurt, clover and grass clippings along with their feed in the brooder and when we moved the chicks into the chicken tractor some of their wood shavings bedding went with them. While in the brooder I also added dirt to their salad plate. Within moments of moving to the tractor, the chicks were avidly pecking the grass, flipping dead leaves and flitting from one end of the pen to the other.
These birds are a test group as well as adding to the freezer. I am keeping track of all expenses so that I know exactly how much it costs to raise a batch of meat birds with organic feed from Paradise Valley Organic Farm, located only 12 miles away. Since the Cornish Cross chickens gain so much weight so quickly, I am happier using organic feed. Buying local products when possible is another goal of our farmstead,too.
Chicken is not a fovorite meat on our table so I am not sure how many we will be raising in the future. Next year I will be giving my broody Buckeye hens, duck eggs to help our Saxony production and hopefully fill the freezer with delicious dark meat. But for this season, I am feeding during the day, moving the pen regularly and will probably be very ready for the October visit to the butcher.