Starting with Meat Chickens and Euthanizing a Chick


This is the first group of chickens we are raising for meat alone. They are Freedom Rangers which as far as I can tell are Red Rangers but what I really like is they were from GMO free breeding stock.

I paid 71.25 total after shipping for 25 chicks. This is high and the main reason I am starting a breeding program to try to produce my own meat birds just for the farm as some point. For the money they came on schedule and looked pretty healthy. Once we took them out we realized they sent extra. We counted 32! This was a great surprise as the packing list only listed 1 extra.

Well we noticed one wasn’t doing well and he didn’t make it 24 hrs. This was ok, we were still over in numbers. Then I notice one has some kind of leg injury. Poor thing.

I did what I could by putting colloidal silver on the leg and giving him honey water with a dropper. As the next day came he was worse. Just laying there waiting for death. I took him into the house and put him into the bathroom with the heater going. I cuddled and babied him and he was clearly getting worse and I was clearly getting more attached.

So I made the call to euthanize. He was at the point that he couldn’t stand and the leg was getting blacker. I guess he broke it. This is the only thing I could think why it was getting worse because chicks and chickens in general are so resultant if they just get a helping hand. So I decided it was time to let him go.

How to Euthanize a Chick:

I put about a teaspoon of baking soda into a small glass bowl that I knew would fit into a larger one then put my little guy into the bigger bowl. I poured enough vinegar into the small bowl to activate all the soda but not enough to make it spill over into the large bowl and as quickly as possible closed the lid.

His eyes closed and he convulsed a couple of times- from what I have read they a unconscious at this point. Then has spread out completely and looked as if he was in a deep sleep. I stood there for about 10 minutes just watching to make sure he didn’t wake up or look in pain. He never woke up. I put a towel over the bowl and waited 30 minutes more. At this point he was defiantly dead but honestly I had to get my husband to look first.

If you take on the responsibility of animals lives you are doing just that. You have to be able to do what you gotta do! But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t hurt. I think that’s what life is about though and as my mother said “These things make life fuller and deeper in the long run”. -She was a wise woman

But as I said before this is the first group we raise for meat and I am trying to keep a log of the cost and all as we will be selling chicken in the future and need to keep things in line. Of course cost should go down per bird as the operation grows. I am always learning how to cut costs.

So far for this batch:

71.25 livestock

17.61 40lb bag premix starter feed organic- this cost can go down if I get a good grinder to mash down the feed I make for the other birds and add more protein.

4.35 chick grit- which had but is still an expense

brooder box I borrow from in-laws but you can always find cheap ones for sale on Facebook pages and Craigslist kind of things or make one. You don’t have to use fancy cutesy things you see on Pinterest. Remember it is going to be covered in poop soon.

I don’t use lamps for them because it is early September and the brooder is outside in my carport area. During the day it gets a toasty 95-96 degrees inside the box and at night the lowest yet is 77. The birds sleep huddled up but aren’t shacking or anything. The most important thing is that you keep then out of drafts even during the heat of day and keep them dry. Even a little morning dew can kill a newborn chick. But don’t take much stock in the 95 degrees the first week then 90 the second week thing. I just go with what is comfortable to them. If you are putting the brooder inside that is a totally different story. Most areas have some kind of draft due to the a/c.

I don’t buy bedding either. I use lawn clippings. First because it is more natural for the chick and helps them start scratching and pecking foraging for fallen feed and also because it is renewable and compostable. Plus I do think there is something to slowly introducing them to the germs they will be living with. Kind of like letting kids get dirty.

I do use a probiotic in their water once they are about 5 days old. It helps them not to get pasty butt. You can use yogurt also. In a natural setting where they are raised by a mama hen they get the probiotics let off by the mother through her poop- yes they eat poop. But I don’t really think of it as an expense because I keep it on hand and they use such a small amount. I only put a couple of drops per day.

I already have the feeders and waterers for them. Try to find the metal bases but the plastic works too. You only have to buy these once and they last forever. If the plastic bottle brakes you can use a mason jar but check it because you have to get it just right for the water to flow.

I always give them honey water first thing out of the shipping box. This really gives them a huge boost.



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