Maple Heights Farm

  (Westminster, Massachusetts)
Farm, Food and Family
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It must be Easter! Chicks are Herel

It is that time of year when the early morning call wakes us.  "You have a package that has just arrived, come get them, NOW".  It seems the company of 175 day old chicks is even company to our busy postal workers.  And there is nothing like these soft, delicate bundles of energy (and noise) as they spend their days jostling for the best spot under a warming light -- and taking their turn standing in the water dish!  It is sort of like "king of the mountain", chick style!

This year, we are starting 150 broilers (and 25 new laying hens) for our June delivery day.  So far, so healthy.  They are feeding on a high quality non-medicated feed and are looking strong and growing quickly.  It is very satisfying to see these birds growing rapidly without the antibiotics that have been added to the "chick starter" medicated feeds.  This year non-mediated chick starter is unavailable at the feed stores in our area so Andy is formulating his own to keep these chicks growing strong.  But, I did notice the other day, he was searching through the refrigerator and I have now found that he has discovered my barley stockpile from Four Star Farm (great, locally grown grains in Northfield) to give to his precious chicks -- goodbye beef-barley-soup!  Those lucky little devils!  Now if I can only keep my wheat berries away from Andy (and his chicks)!

Normally the birds would be going out on pasture after a few weeks in the warm barn, but this time of year, that is not possible and will probably stay inside for an extra week or so, until it is safe -- and dry enough -- for them.  Some of our best grasses grow where these chickens have fertilized our fields.  And their reward is a feast of HUNDREDS of tiny grasshoppers (at least that is what we think they are) when their protective cage is moved twice each day.
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