Fall broilers

Chicks grazing in clover

Although most of us
think of chicks in the spring, it’s worth considering raising a flock
of broilers in the late summer.  Our
pastures hit a lull in midsummer
, but as temperatures drop, the
grass starts to grow again.  Meanwhile, the vegetable garden is
churning out excess produce like mad in September and October, and
chickens love those rotten tomatoes and monster squash.  In fact,
you can often let chicks graze in a mature vegetable garden until
they’re two months old without seeing much damage.

Free range chicks

Last year, I was very
glad Mark talked me into putting one more round of eggs in the
incubator in August, so I repeated the procedure this year.  In
our zone 6 climate, I consider Thanksgiving the deadline for getting
the last broiler out of the pasture and into our bellies, so I aimed to
have eggs hatch by the first week of September.  If you live
further south (or are raising Cornish Cross broilers to eight weeks
instead of heirlooms to twelve weeks), you could start your chicks a
bit later.

Chickens eating garden surplus

Our last round of 2012
broilers are still in the cute and fuzzy stage, but we’ve already moved them to the outdoor
so they can enjoy pasture.  That’s one more
benefit of fall broilers — it’s never too cold to put your newborn
chicks outside!

(By the way, these
photos are last fall’s broilers.  You’ll see this year’s
Australorp broilers in later posts.)

Our chicken waterer makes it easy to provide
fresh water to a batch of broilers and a laying flock without wasting
time cleaning out filthy waterers.

Leave a Reply