The other day on "the facebook" a couple of us were comparing the progress of our meats. Several of us were moving them outside and into freedom. Since a bunch of us took advantage of Meyer's superduper meat chick sale we all have meats that are about the same age. It's fun to see everyone's meat progress.
I've been teaching mine to go outside. This is a huge step in a creepy meat's life. It's a scary world out there fraught with danger. And steps. It took a while for the meats to take that one big leap into freedom. As Bugs Bunny would say, "Watch out for that first step, Mac! It's a looloo!"
The meat finally took that leap and ended up on the ground. They thought it was awesome.
These meats spend the first full day outside a few days ago when we were having warmer weather. They were pecking around with the other hennies. It was a little overwhelming and they were exhausted from their first day of freedom.
When they say me coming for evening chores they all heaped into the meat coop and dramatically threw themselves down into their feeder. It was a little sad. Then I went around and collected all the loose meats and herded them back into their coop. We had several more mild days last week and they loved it. However, its currently snowing (!!!!) so they are inside. Maybe next week they can get outside again.
Now, you need to supervise your meats. You can't just let them fly free as they are kinda stupid and extremely vulnerable. At first I only let them out for a few minutes when the other chickens were still cooped up. As a very wise woman once said, "Its a chicken eat chicken world out there." And yes your "normal" hens will attack and kill a helpless meat chicken. So I gradually let them out for longer periods of time and only when they are about as big as my smallest laying hen. You have to give your meats a fighting chance.
And don't let any harm befall them. Or let them out in the bad weather. Secure your yard before you shove your meat outside. Before I let them out I went around and made sure there were no water buckets around where they might fall in and drown, I gated the hen yard so they couldn't get far, and Dahli "The Chicken Stomper" has been incarcerated for a couple days now.
I hung around outside watching them to make sure they could hold their own against the other chickens. Fortunately they are still too immature to ensnare the rooster's affections. It also helped that Kai and Zander were in the dog yard where they could see the meats toddling around and alert me if anything was swooping in from the sky to make off with my meats. My pals over at Tilton Hollow put their meats in a beautiful hoop house - which is a great way to make sure your meat is safe.
Happy Saturday everyone! Is your meat loose today? Perhaps I should rephrase.... Is anyone else letting their meat run free today? Dang. That's not right either..... How about, "Is anyone free ranging your meat chickens?"