January 10, 2018
It’s not all hard work on an organic egg farm, as recently I got to do one of my most favourite things – pick up a new batch of 1-day old chicks. Have you ever heard the sound that a couple of thousand, 1-day old chicks make together, when they are on the trek from the Gold Coast to their new home at my Organigrow farm, located just outside of Lismore? It is one of the cutest and most joyous sounds you can ever hope to experience.
Many people wonder how we get our chicks, do we breed them or do we bring them in? Here is our story of our newest chicks.
Our chicks came from Rochester, Victoria making them jet-setters by the time they were just 24 hours old. At one day old, they were transported to Melbourne airport and then flown to the Gold Coast and this is where I picked them up. I stopped up at Tugan for a short break, utilising the opportunity to open the truck door and let the sun come in to warm the chicks toward their optimal temperature of 32 degrees centigrade. With some warmth in the truck and the chicks chirping away happily, we then made our way to the Organigrow farm.
Up to this time the chicks have not needed to eat, as they can live off the egg yolk for 2 days. Once I arrived at the farm and set them up in the large brooder shed, I gave them their first water and organic feed. They mobbed together initially and then started to explore and scurry around but at the first sign of any perceived danger, they mob back together.
The brooder shed will be their home for the next 7 weeks. The gas heaters are on and will continue to run as needed to maintain the optimum temperature of 32 degrees for the first few days, which is vital for their survival. For the next 2-3 weeks it will be gradually deceased as they get older and more feathered. As chicks are so vulnerable, the growth in size as well as chirping volume is a pleasure to witness.
After the 7 weeks, the chicks will move into the grower run. This run is more like a normal hen run however due to their age and vulnerability as young growers, the run is covered by bird netting to keep the hawks out, and whilst I find the grey goshawks beautiful I don’t want them eating my precious chicks. They will stay in here for 7 to 10 weeks until they are big enough not to be vulnerable to an attack from the hawks.
After this they are moved (over a couple of nights) to their permanent run, where they are watched over day and night by one of their Maremma guard dogs.
After a little time to get used to their home run they are let out during the day to roam completely free range around the farm. As we do not de-beak our chicks, they will always be able to use their full senses to explore and forage every day, and they will go on to lay many superior quality and superb tasting Organigrow organic eggs.