Well, here we are, six months later. We’ve finished our first six-month CSA and we’re gearing up for the next set.
Suffice it to say, we’ve learned a lot.
In the early months, we had some problems with inconsistent weight—some birds weighed four pounds, some weighed two… and this after eating the same food in the same conditions with the same care! After a few calls to the hatchery, upping the ratio of males to females, and more consistent doses of milk and lentils in their diets, we got everyone’s weight up—we had a lot of five-pounders in January (and two that weighed in around eight pounds!).
Over the past few months, we also eliminated the last few traces of soy from our birds’ diet. We are officially, 100% soy-free!
One thing that didn’t plague us at all this last go-round—which did cause problems the summer before last—were the health issues pretty common to Cornish Cross birds. We had no problems at all with pneumonia, heart attacks, or weight-bearing on the chickens’ legs. The Cornish Cross bird is bred to grow lots of muscle very swiftly, but their hearts, lungs, and leg bones can’t keep up. But by giving them plenty of light, deep bedding that keeps them very clean, and food that feeds their other body systems (and not just their muscle growth), we’ve all but eliminated these very common problems.
We are excited to begin again in March. And yes, in response to the commonly asked question, we DO enjoy doing this. Our children play nearby, we visit and banter as we work, and there’s tremendous satisfaction in getting the job done (to say nothing of the views, the fresh air, and the sunlight). There’s not much that’s better than that.