- Manisha Lath Gupta
Animals in Permaculture: Day Old Chicks
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
For two years or so, we had been trying to grow our hen population at the farm. The idea was to have at least 15-20 healthy adult free range hens, and be able to collect eggs for family and friends at Aanandaa. Our initial attempt at getting started with Raja and Rani ended in tragedy with both of them dying. For a while we had no egg laying hen. Later we had no rooster. And then some hens eloped with the wild rooster who used to visit them from the nearby Morni Hills. Then we kept a rooster with the hope that he will fertilise some eggs and we can have a brood. But he taught the hens how to eat their own eggs!
I was telling Panditji how we need to find a way to keep hens and maybe buy some new hens from a hen-keeper. But in his wisdom he went to the CPDO office, and got 60 day old chicks - just the way poultry farmers pick them up from CPDO.
Now its interesting to know, that poultry farmers buy day old chicks and take them to the poultry farm. There they are fed special meals pumped with hormones and antibiotics. As a result within 30 days, yes 30 days, the chickens are 600-800 gm in weight ready to be sent to slaughter!
Now, coming back to our day old chicks. We kept them inside away from the heat and predators, fed them organic natural produce and gave them clean water to drink. Yet, they succumbed to some infection and most of them died. Of the 60 chicks, about 20 survived to see adolescence and 2 to see adult hood! So anyone telling you they are eating hens to keep the population in check, doesn't know what he's talking about. Its impossible to grow a large population of chickens without antibiotics and hormones. And when you do that, you know what you are consuming along with the chicken!