Friday, August 20, 2010
Some Things Are--Naturally--Hard on a Farm
So I called the helpful people at FFG, and they advised me to try medicated chick food which has a coccidiostat (meaning, it stops coccidiosis) because coccidiosis causes bloody diarrhea. My trusty Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens also said that while the chicks may survive coccidiosis, they will not thrive. Hmm, meat chickens that don't thrive don't give much meat. That's a no-brainer! You never saw anyone get from here to there so fast, and home again with a new bag of chick feed. Just to be extra-sure, I cleaned and bleached out the food and water containers and followed FFG's advice to add sugar to the water for 24 hours.
Two days later, the chicks all look like this:
Now, I'm all for doing things the natural way, but I am not in favor of it if it leads to sick animals. I know some natural adherents NEVER give medications to animals because it isn't natural. Well, I don't think raising animals on a farm is natural. And I don't think raising chicks under a brooder light is natural, but I don't have a broody hen, and even if I did, she couldn't foster 32 chicks. I don't think processing 25 chicks at once and sticking them in a freezer is natural, either. And we have too much money invested in these chicks to let survival of the fittest be our modus operandi. So we will be as natural as we can, keeping the animals' well-being and our financial investment in mind. When the chicks are old enough, they'll go outside in a chicken tractor to forage safely for most of their food, and by the time we eat them, the coccidiostat will be long out of their systems, and we'll be assured they had healthy, happy lives in our care.
And for my next batch of chicks, I'm going straight to Flintstone Farm and Garden for their feed!