Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Basic Broiler Challenge: Week #5 and Off Grain!

Ta da! Week #5 for the Basic Broiler Challenge! These birds are HUGE and continue to keep me pleased with their performance.

Today was "THE" day. My group of 26 Freedom Rangers are officially off grain. I've been supplementing their usual ration all week with sprouts and cheese, and today was finally the day where they got no grain. I fed them 4 lbs. of raw milk cow cheese (just a fast vinegar cheese) early in the day, and then gave them 3 lbs. of sprouts this afternoon while doing mid-day barn chores. Tonight they'll get the 4 lbs. of whey that resulted from the afore mentioned cheese. They all seem really content with the new diet thus far; no chirping, wandering around looking for food, or other signs that might make me think they're hungry. Half of them are perched on the brooder box edge (yes, they're still in the brooder!); content to simply roost there and watch the world go by instead of hopping out and making me commence to a chase. When they want down from their view point, they shuffle their chubby selves around and plop back into the brooder. Trained birds... How 'bout that? 

This week's  weights are as follows:

Group 1 (my group that is on the sprouts/raw milk diet):
Average individual weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz!
Average combined weight: 70.2 lbs.!!

Group 2 (my friends' birds who are on 20% broiler ration)
Average individual weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Average combined weight: 39.2 (there are 28 birds in this group)

Looking at the weights I have from last week and this week, both groups have doubled their weights, and group #2 is growing steadily, if somewhat slower. They're about a week behind in weights from my group, so I'm guessing they're what a normal batch would look like and will be old enough to butcher by 9-11 weeks. Mine are just mammoth sized freaks. LOL. If mine keep on gaining at the rate they have been, then they should hopefully be ready to be butchered by 8 weeks. But we'll see. After all, this is only their first day on a straight dairy/sprout diet.

Sprout tutorial coming soon!


Anonymous said...

This is awsome! Thank you so much for writing about your experiments (sp?). Excuse my creative spelling, I can't seem to get the hang of the traditional way. That is, if I did spell anything wrong.

Wish I had enough milk to feed to my birds, but my girls are only giving enough for the family at the moment.

I have a question. One of my goats, a little lamancha. Has had a lot of trouble with worms all summer. She is kinda skinny, hardly gives milk, though Loves to eat, play, coat is soft, eyes bright...she won't put weight on!!??!? I feed her the same amount as my other does who are much bigger and giving more milk. They are all lovely and fat, ready to have babies and she is bones. I can count her ribs. Ok, so my question. Should I stop milking her since she is skinny and pregy? Maybe I shouldn't have let her get bred. At the moment I've been giving her a steady stream of Fiasco Farms #2 wormer and I think it's is finally helping. Though, since she has had such a tough year, should I stop milking her earier?
Sorry, that was really long.


Goat Song said...

I think drying her up would be helpful. Lactating is quite the drain on a doe, and being preggo is also quite the drain! So putting those two together, and then adding in the fact that she had worms earlier and thus her immunity is still building itself back up, that is a lot for one goat to handle! If you can do without the milk, my advice would be yes, go ahead and dry her up.

It may also be that if she is a higher producer (or is when she's at her peak) then she may just be a "hard keeper". Some animals have an extremely hard time keeping weight on, while their pasture buddies will be as slick as oil on the same ration. My milk cow is like this and it drives me *batty*!

When is she due to kid?

Anonymous said...

They'll start kidding at the end of March, she has just been bred. Thanks for answering! I'll start drying her off.

Plowman's Farm said...

We still feel like you are not being fair to our birdies - we feel like parents whose kiddos are being neglected at school....HA!!!!

We are so enjoying watching you blog and share this - we continue to learn so much from you! You do have a scientific mind...and would be suitable for natural-vet work if you so desire to pursue that in the future.

Kris said...

I sure wish I had known this earlier. I just butchered 28 of my 50 Freedom Rangers. They are now 13 weeks old. And not a one of them was over 4 pounds. With several at only 2.5 lbs. I am very disappointed in this. I still have 22 left, but at 13 weeks and a lot of money in them, I am ready to do the last 22 and be done with them. It sounds like yours are doing great so far on the new diet. Like someone else said, I too would give them milk but my does are not giving much right now either. Will check back in to see how much yours weigh when they are finished.