My Cornish crosses are beautiful. Sure enough they derp out a little when they get their food, but they are gorgeous birds, clean, shiny and white with tight feathers and healthy combs and wattles.
I weighed some of them yesterday; they are 4-5lbs each, some of them coming in a little above 5lbs. They have a Feed Conversion Ratio of about 2.3lbs of feed to 1lb of meat. Not a very good FCR, but that is what happens when your birds are capable of walking and running. On the other hand it doesn’t feel like there is an ounce of fat on them… They feel leaner than my rabbits often do. If they keep gaining weight at their current FCR, they should each gain another 4lbs before they are butchered. They are still terrible about foraging, refusing to eat their grass and greens so I have begun adding greens and alfalfa cubes to their fermented feed to get them to eat their veggies. These birds will each down about 1/2lb of greens this week, plus some alfalfa. This will give them that home-grown, pastures, grass-fed flavor. The greens I am adding to their feed are extremely varied. It’s mostly dandelions but there is plantago, clover, sow thistle, mint, basil, grass, kale, cat’s ears and strawberry vines just to name a few. I just grab a bundle and chop it into the FF with a pair of kitchen scissors. I stir it and let it ferment like I let everything ferment.
The hens have been slowing down laying as the temperatures have suddenly plummeted into the upper 60’s during the day and upper 40’s at night. It’s supposed to warm back up a little which is good because I have about 15 BIG green tomatoes sitting outside, waiting to ripen up and turn all yellow and blushing red! I also have a few jalepenos and zucchini growing still that I would love to finish developing… It can’t be fall yet! But it really, truly is. The hens have also been having hormone fluctuations as the light decreases and it gets dark sooner and sooner. One of them decided to lay me a monster of an egg the other day…
You can guess what was inside!
Double yolkers aren’t good for chickens, they mean their reproductive tract is malfunctioning in a way and they can lead to serious issues for hens that lay them regularly. But they sure are fun for us when we get them!
And speaking of eggs, our hatching eggs arrived the other day and have since been put under our perpetually broody hen. These eggs are Black and Copper Maran eggs and they are just gorgeous! The darkest eggs layed of any chicken. They are due to hatch in the first few days of October. because they were shipped I expect only half of the dozen to hatch out, and I will only keep one hen. Who knows what we’ll do with the rest…!
The cool weather sits well with the new root garden bed…
the beets, onions and carrots are all already growing strong and well. The dirt has stayed fairly loose so far… Problem solved? Maybe they will even finish growing before winter hits!
And we are expanding our rabbitry. We currently have seven does (one is a kit slated for food) and a buck on the premises and are looking to expand further. We have decided to build a PVC pipe hutch and cage system in our garage, very similar to This One that Robin built. Ours will be a six-hole unit and will take up a whole wall in our garage.
We recently “acquired” a new rabbit. A friend of my mother’s at her church wanted to give her up to me for whatever I could do with her (even soup) as long as I treated her well in life. How could I say no to that? I’ve gotten offers of rescue bunnies before but never one that didn’t mind their rabbit’s life leaving at my hands. She’s some sort of Flemmish giant mix. She’s 12lbs and built like a Giant rabbit. Her name is Lucy and she’s very sweet. She was a stray when they got her so there’s no history on her other than an approximate age of three years.
She is, however, a beautiful tortoiseshell. We’ll try breeding her after Purina and Iams kindle (which should be very soon) and see what happens.
So busy on the homestead!