(This was originally posted on my myspace blog last year...)
We picked up our day old meat-king chicks at the local farm and garden co-op today. We are starting out with 62 birds that cost $1.15 each. We already own all the feeders and waterers we will need from previous years, so that will cut the costs a bit. We also bought 8 bales of shavings, (I like how clean and fresh the kiln dried shavings are), and 2 bags of unmedicated chick starter. We had to go to a different feed store to find the unmedicated crumbs w/ no animal protein, all they had at the first place was the medicated stuff. I would prefer to have an organic chicken feed but it is not sold locally. I'm putting a tablespoon of vinegar to a quart of their drinking water to help prevent coccidosis.
We placed the bales of shavings around a large flat cardboard box, to form a brooding area, and hung a heat lamp overhead. I put a digital in/out thermometer in at the edge of the brooder to monitor the temperature.
The chicks are growing their white feathers in, they almost have full white wings! One of the chicks had to be culled, it'd been looking sick since we got them, and I couldn't put it off any longer. It was less than half the size of the others and looked like it could hardly stand up anymore. I also expanded their area by flattening the box and moving some bales of shavings out of the way, and brought in 2 larger waterer's and a big feeder. I put the waterer's up on some bricks to keep the shavings out. The children have been busy picking flowers and bugs for the chicks, it's so funny to see one of them pick up a red clover flower and run with it peeping, while the others try and catch the enticingly dangling blossom... It looks like a little game of soccer! They've also been getting worms and ants delivered and they just go nuts over them. I put a few rocks and sticks in for them to climb on, I've never heard of anyone doing that before but I did read somewhere that meat kings do much better with exercise, and they started climbing up and jumping off the rocks right away!