Ta da! Week #5 for the Basic Broiler Challenge! These birds are HUGE and continue to keep me pleased with their performance.
Today was "THE" day. My group of 26 Freedom Rangers are officially off grain. I've been supplementing their usual ration all week with sprouts and cheese, and today was finally the day where they got no grain. I fed them 4 lbs. of raw milk cow cheese (just a fast vinegar cheese) early in the day, and then gave them 3 lbs. of sprouts this afternoon while doing mid-day barn chores. Tonight they'll get the 4 lbs. of whey that resulted from the afore mentioned cheese. They all seem really content with the new diet thus far; no chirping, wandering around looking for food, or other signs that might make me think they're hungry. Half of them are perched on the brooder box edge (yes, they're still in the brooder!); content to simply roost there and watch the world go by instead of hopping out and making me commence to a chase. When they want down from their view point, they shuffle their chubby selves around and plop back into the brooder. Trained birds... How 'bout that?
This week's weights are as follows:
Group 1 (my group that is on the sprouts/raw milk diet):
Average individual weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz!
Average combined weight: 70.2 lbs.!!
Group 2 (my friends' birds who are on 20% broiler ration)
Average individual weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Average combined weight: 39.2 (there are 28 birds in this group)
Looking at the weights I have from last week and this week, both groups have doubled their weights, and group #2 is growing steadily, if somewhat slower. They're about a week behind in weights from my group, so I'm guessing they're what a normal batch would look like and will be old enough to butcher by 9-11 weeks. Mine are just mammoth sized freaks. LOL. If mine keep on gaining at the rate they have been, then they should hopefully be ready to be butchered by 8 weeks. But we'll see. After all, this is only their first day on a straight dairy/sprout diet.
Sprout tutorial coming soon!