Friday, July 13, 2012

Freedom Ranger Chicks at Two Weeks

Our Freedom Ranger chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery are now two weeks old.

We have not lost any of them and they are all healthy and active.

In fact, they are so lively that it was hard to take their photo. They wouldn't stop for even a second.

I've been feeding them some old lettuce from the garden. The children say they act like it is candy. They come running as soon as we throw it in their pen.

The chicks tear off pieces and run into the corners to eat it.

In a few minutes, the lettuce is all consumed.

It has been nice having chicks in the summer. We have had hot weather and have only been turning on the heat lamp at night when it drops to 70 degrees. Now that they are starting to feather out, we have stopped using the light at night all together.

We are hoping to move them out to a moveable pen on pasture in a week or two.

Those of you who pasture meat chickens, at what age do you put your chicks outside?


  1. I would end of keeping mine as pets - they are so cute. Do you think the children will be OK with eating them? Although I only eat a little meat, I do eat some and I think its really important that we all remember where our food comes from and don't forget what is behind the sanitised little boxes in our supermarkets. By raising your own you are teaching your little ones this; I think its admirable. xxx

  2. I let my chickens outside by the time they are a month old... on their own for the free ranging... before then at least a few times a week in a small contained area to get used to the sights, smells, noises. There is a website that is a online forum called its free sign up and depending on what state you are located you can find your own state group thread and will find lots of info.. I know there are folks on there who raise freedom ranger chickens..

    I think the cutest part of Broodering is when you give them a small single piece of something and they run with it while the others try to get out of its beak.. we call it playing

  3. We put ours out around 4 weeks old. Depending on the weather, usually.

    We just butchered our Cornish Rocks on Wed. (8 weeks old) - We didn't save any for roasting birds, they were so big! The only two we weighed were 7.75 lbs and 8 lbs.!! This time they were just huge! I'm glad it's all done - now i have to find time to cook down the bones and get some broth canned.

  4. Ours are 14 weeks and butchering day is tomorrow! This morning I saw one roosting 4 feet off the ground and it made me think of Joel Salatin talking about the "chicken-ness of the chicken" :)

    This year was different because it was so early in the spring, but last year we put them out at 3 weeks and they did great.

  5. We have a heat lamp rigged on the inside of our chicken tractor for nights that are cool. I have been known to put them outside before they are two weeks old, but our tractor is almost like a fort knox for chickens :) During the day it is very hot in upstate NY, and has been for weeks, and they are doing great having some breeze outside in the shade of the tractor.

  6. We put our Cornish Rocks out at 2 weeks old, but as only half of their pull-around pen has a roof, we keep a tarp handy to put over in case it rains. They do well with this!

  7. Thanks, Gina, for the update on the chicks. They look great. And pretty big so far. Can't wait to get mine in 2 weeks.

  8. oh they are so wonderful! I love
    God bless you

  9. I agree that 4 weeks is a good time to let them out of confinement. We have hawks who are always circling. I think they know we have young chicks, so since our nursery area is open on the top we have to be vigilant. The meat birds, after 4 weeks are probably a little heavy for the small hawks, but the RIR hen chicks are still quite small, so we may wait a while to let them out. Our Muscovy chicks will be large enough to let out at about 4 weeks too, so if you have your chicks in the tractor, it's probably be quite safe for them at 4 weeks.

    What color will the hens be when they are full grown? They look a lot like our young RIR hens except a bit bigger. We have stuck with RIR because they are great egg layers and we sell eggs. For meat we still do the Cornish Rock X. We haven't had any that beat the weight we can get with them. We only do Cockerels because the hens carry too much fat.

    We just pinioned the duck chicks on Saturday. I hate that job, but if we don't they will take flight when they get old enough and terrorize the neighborhood. They are as big as geese when full grown and make a hissing sound 'cause they are mute ducks and ugly on top of that. They are just scary looking. One year we made the mistake of not pinioning and now we have to clip wing feathers constantly on those ducks and it is hard to stay ahead of it.

    Keeping poultry could be a full-time job :)

  10. We always let them out as soon as they have most of their feathers unless it's still quite cold at night. Half of our movable chicken pen is covered though so they could probably do fine a little earlier than that.


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