Dinner Flock; 1 Week (Fermenting Feed)

Be warned in advance, there will be a discussion about poo in this post! This is the latest picture of Dinner. Dinner is now being used to refer to my whole flock of – now 13 – Cornish Cross chickens; they are Dinner individually and collectively.

We did loose one of the chicks. This was pretty much expected and it’s why hatcheries give you extra chicks here and there. It was half the size of the others, kept waddling about, and stopped eating and drinking. There wasn’t much we could do and it died the next day. Life happens, we move forward.

The rest of the chicks have gotten MUCH larger. I’m not sure where they are tipping the scales now, but the chicks started out at half the height. They’re about 6 inches tall now. I had my mother stop by on Day 5, and I was telling my father about how they were only five days old. She exclaimed “No! They’re way older than that!”. No mom, they were hatched Monday and picked up Tuesday. They are only five days, and they will be 8lbs in as many weeks. She could hardly believe it. She got really skeptical when I told her this breed is prone to having heart attacks when older than three months because their heart cannot beat strongly enough to provide blood to their whole bodies. She’ll just have to see for herself when they start getting big.

I noticed a problem with the chicks really early on… The poo. A lot of their poo was coming out as nothing but gross liquid diarrhea. I read that this is common with the CX breed in general

Then I was reading somewhere else about the benefits of fermenting feed, including that it helped many farmers turn their CX poo into normal bird poo and not liquid. Feed fermentation is something I have never really read about save for in the feeding of silage. Silage feeding makes many animals such as cows, sheep and pigs more prone to health concerns because of bacteria in the silage so I was skeptical… But I read some papers written by very nice researchers at very large colleges that said that fermenting feed in a highly acidic environment can increase protein content, increase nutrient availability, decrease feed intake, regulate digestive systems and because of the acid, harmful bacteria struggles to grow. Sounded good to me!

Fermenting feed!

I followed the instructions of dozens of other chicken keepers on how to set up the fermenting feed; get a non-metal container. Throw a bunch of feed in it. Fill with water until the fed is well-covered. Add a few “glugs” of All Natural Unpasteurized/homogenized Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” intact. Stir gently, cover, and wait 6-12 hours. Strain and feed.

Within a two days of doing this the CX’s poos looked like mini versions of the ones my laying hens leave. They’re not just gooey green puddles any more; they look like poo. Which sounds strange, but I’m really happy about it. Part of owning animals is watching poo. If they go the bathroom the same every time and are eating like clockwork, you have a pretty healthy animal!

The chicks have also impressed me by foraging within the confines of their brooder. I went out the other evening to dish up my fermented feed and there was a moth in the cage. It started flying about and one of the chicks leaped into mid-air, caught it, beat it against the floor and ate it before my eyes. My heritage Australorps couldn’t do better! They also eat greens when I give them, although it takes them a little while. Soon they will start venturing out in a pen during the warmest part of the day to forage!

We have another broody hen in the buster. She should be back to laying soon enough. This week is our county fair, and I’ll post about that soon.

Today while walking my sister’s dogs I got a bit of a sight.

My phone is not good at photographing things more than about 5 feet away, but this group of deer was in a driveway on our daily walk. It was a doe with a nice sized buck behind her. As I started walking forward (two dogs in tow) she started coming closer as well to check me out. Then I noticed something more surprising. Can you see them in the corner between the garage and fence? Two more bucks, big as moose with huge horns. The does was only about 20 feet away, tops. I started backing off and they did too. I would never have tried that in the fall! The deer around here can be scary with how big and numerous they are. Either way this doe has quite the posse to keep her safe!

I’m sure glad I have a fence!

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3 thoughts on “Dinner Flock; 1 Week (Fermenting Feed)

  1. I think I could, possibly, raise this type of chick knowing that it’s sole purpose is to be dinner…for dinner… especially if knowing that it would, more or less, suffer in its life if it were to stay alive. In my beginnings of homesteading, I haven’t been able to bridge the gap of raising animals for food beyond what they produce, i.e. eggs, or milk. I’m just not there yet, but I might be able to start with this type of chicken. Really interesting that the fermented feed worked to produce real chicken poops. Thanks for sharing!! :o)

    • They are VERY different birds. Not at all like layer hens/chicks. Have you seen pictures or videos of them at butcher age? The way they walk is hard to watch. They have next to no feathers. Adult sized birds if the manage to live (which is hard to do, it’s possible to get some 75% viability with the most extremely careful management, which is the losses you’d expect from very poor management in other breeds) get to be some 25+lbs and can at any point in time develop a slipped tendon and no longer be able to walk. They’re poor layers, can’t breed easily and the roos are aggressive.
      Every single day I see how much they have grown and I am shocked and reminded; yes these birds are VERY much dinner, not just in name but in every way. It’s impossible to think of them as much more than walking meat. 😐
      The fermented feed also makes it a higher quality/protein food source making it possible to raise a larger bird on less feed. But it’s effort, I’ll tell you that!

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