Exactly eight and a half weeks ago, I popped into the local feed store to pick up the chicks that I'd ordered. We only ordered meaties this year as we decided that the layer flock was big enough for the moment. They are such cute, delicate, fluffy babies. Noisy though for sure! Somehow it always surprises me that a chorus of those tiny peeps adds up to such a big noise!
We were lucky this year with a number of factors, which helped with good growing conditions. The weather was warm enough that I could turn the heat lights off earlier than I normally do. This meant the beasts had to actually sleep at night, rather than have enough light to eat all night. I'd ordered unsexed chicks. This means that they tend to get along better. The females are smaller and some of them don't grow as quickly. We had two who were really active and kept stirring up the rest, so they got a bit of exercise. Healthier birds for all that.
This morning, at stupid early, we loaded them up for the drive to the processing plant. It's not a horribly nice thing to think about, but they have lived a good life for their time. I'll admit that by 7 weeks of age, they become work, eating, drinking and pooping an awful lot. They grow so crazy fast it's almost scary. You can see why warnings go out about the risks of the chicken industry relying on too small a genetic pool, should a disasterous health issue arise. However, you can also why has come about. In order to feed people, chickens need to be grown quickly and efficiently. This cross breed is very food efficient! We let ours grow larger than the industry standard, cause well, we aren't an industry, just filling our freezer for the winter ahead. Tomorrow morning, that freezer will be filled and we will have chicken on the barbeque for dinner.