Conroe, Texas, United States
Posted Mar 21, 2017
People think chickens are easy critters to manage and raise. At first, you think that all you must do is throw a hen and a rooster out in the backyard and watch as a chicken metropolis comes to life… this is not the case. A few years ago, my brothers and I had the opportunity to raise chickens for the local fair. We excitedly brought our 50 new chicks home with us and within minutes had them all placed in a nice enclose and began teaching them how to drink. We bathed them in warm artificial light and placed hay around the cage for comfort. These little chicks were stark white, but this did not last long. Come fair day, our little chickens who were about an average size were dark brown and lively as ever. We picked out the three biggest ones and took them to town, thinking we had the competition in the bag! $3000 dollars here we come! We almost died of embarrassment, however, when we saw the other chickens we were competing against. Each one looked to be about 60 pounds, beautiful bleach white, and so fat they couldn't even move. We shyly placed our brown, puny hens into the designated pens. The whole afternoon was hysterical. People passed by asking what kind of disease our chickens had, and one lady even asked if they were Mexican chickens. ‘No ma'am those feathers are just permanently stained with their poop…’ (true story) Needless to say, we didn't even come close to a shot at the 3 grand, but we learned some valuable lessons in chicken ownership.
Cornish cross bred chickens, also commonly known as white broilers, are not overly aggressive unless placed in a small space. If you want Broilers to stay their natural white, DO NOT lay down hay. Wood chips are the best material because they absorb most of the liquid dropped or expelled in the cage. Unless you want poop stained chickens, wood chips are your go to!
The second most valuable lesson we learned is that if you are raising the chickens for size, an everyday natural feed is not going to do the trick. You cannot have free range chickens and expect them to double in size every week. We found that the best way to attain size is through different growth infused feed. You can find this at your local feed store and simply ask an associate to find the best option.
Overall, these chickens are going to take some elbow grease and making sure they are constantly fed and watered, but if done right, they are worth it!