How to Care For & Understand your Peeps

Peeps are always fun to have, but you have to play Mother Hen. And believe it or not they do have a few ways of communicating with you.

First lets go through what you need to do to help the Peeps get acclimated.

When you first bring them home, you have to introduce them to their surroundings. You will take each of your peeps and gently dip their beaks into the water.

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Showing Peep the water

Then you will take and show them the food. You only have to do this once, enough of them will remember and the rest will follow. You must also keep chic starter (food)and clean water in the brooder for them at all times.

They will naturally be drawn to the heat when they need it.

Peeps_light

Peeps laying under the Heat Lamp

So now you are probably wondering how they communicate.

The first way would be if they are cold, they will huddle together under the light, restlessly and slightly noisy. So with that said, the second way they communicate is, if they are hot they will be as far away from that light as possible.

If you see the peeps laying peacefully in different spots in the Brooder, then the temperature is just right and they are happy.:)

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Peeps at Feeder

If you hear a really loud peeping then something is wrong with a peep. He may be just being laid on by another peep, or it could be in distress (never a good thing). So always check the brooder to see what is going on when one is screaming.

Peeps are a lot of fun to watch grow and a great project for kids. There is always that chance that one will die but if you understand that going in, then it may not be so hard to handle.

We bought these peeps at a local farm store. They are approximately a week old. They would probably find the water by themselves but why chance it. If you get day old peeps they have to be shown the water because you are the Mother Hen and they don’t know what to do.

Tip: avoid buying the runt or littlest one of the bunch. They usually don’t make it.

For more on buying Peeps, Check out my post: 6 Thing to do before you buy Peeps

Check out my Blog Hop page to see all the great places I have shared this and other posts of mine.

 

Our Colorful Flock

A couple of years ago we decided to start raising dual-purpose chickens and narrowed it down to the “Delaware”. They are a Heritage breed, that was developed in the U.S. in 1940 by George Ellis when he crossed a Barred Plymouth Rock Rooster and a New Hampshire hen. They were initially used for production broilers. They were eventually replaced by the Cornish x Rock cross. The Delaware hen lays a nicely shaped brown egg of large to jumbo size. The breed develops moderately and has a nice white skin thanks to it’s white feathering. All that made it a win, win for us. So, OK we checked the dual-purpose bird of the list and then I took a liking to the Black Minorca.

Delaware Rooster

Delaware Rooster

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The peeps have moved to pasture

20150415_172603The grass is green and they love it! They will be in their pasture homes for about 3 weeks. They will be living in chicken tractors we made out of cull lumber and fencing we picked out of the garbage, our total cost was about $10 Per tractor. We move the chicken tractors regularly. To find out more about broiler chickens click here.

Peeps in glass houses

Every Spring we get a batch of Cornish X Rocks peeps to fill the freezer. And every spring my electric bill, you guessd it, goes  through the roof. Running all the brooder light bulbs 24/7 can really hurt the budget. Then I saw an article in a Mother Earth News Magazine that had a creative idea that a family did while raising their peeps, well that got me thinking. Why not set up the brooder in the greenhouse. With a little convincing, my husband fixed the brooder area under the potting bench (that is not in use yet) and plugged in the lights. Added some wood shavings and peeps…..So far so good, the peeps seem to love the sunlight and we are able to turn the light out for a few hours a day.

greenhouse peeps

Now, don’t panic, we do monitor the temperature in the green house and the peeps are only going to be in there until they get their feathers and the weather warms up then they will get to be in the chicken tractor on the green grass, catching bugs and running around, enjoying the outside air.

peeps inside greenhouse

It is always fun when a plan works. Happy peeps and a lower electric bill, Yeahh!

What creative ways do you raise peeps??

Some other articles we have written about Broilers:

Cornish Cross Peeps,   Broiler Chickens

First set of Ducklings!!

It is always exciting to see the little ones, whether it is ducklings or peeps. These little guys are the first ducklings we have had in several years. Their mom ( a Muscovy duck) had to sit on those eggs for 35 days(28 days most other ducks), wow, and what a nice nest she made. (Looks more comfy then my couch!)

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She did come off the nest once a day to grab a bite to eat and maybe a drink, but she was quick to get back to them. Towards the end of the setting period she did not get up, so we set a small bowl of water and a handful of feed for her in the house she chose for her nest. Then one day we heard them. She was talking to them and they were answering her. We blocked her and the ducklings in so they could get to know each other before venturing out to the outside world.DSCF0604

Seven cuties, at least for the first couple of days. Something seems to have taken one of them, I hope it is not the fox we have heard about.

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Momma taking a head count

We have raised different kinds of ducks through the years and always seem to come back to the Muscovy breed, they seem to be pretty self-sufficient and easy to raise. Have you ever raised ducks?? If so what kind??

 

Chicken Processing Day

After a brief rain shower we started the task of butchering. We gathered all of the things we needed, knifes, boiling water, killing cone, chicken plucker (we are lucky enough to have one on permanent loan from a friend and we give him 1 dressed bird from each batch in exchange).

Plucking Station

Plucking Station

My husband Dan and our friend Bill did most of the work while I cleaned and sanitized the kitchen. Dan used the killing cone and did the cutting and cleaning, while Bill did the scalding and processed the birds thru the plucker. It is a messy process but if you want quality meat that is fresh and not full of steroids and stuff you shouldn’t eat, the process is well worth it.

The chicken plucker is a homemade one but it does make the tedious task of plucking go a lot quicker. We have in the past and you can pluck them without it, after dunking the birds in the hot water (around 140 – 145 degrees) the feathers will come out rather easily with a pair of rubber gloves on your hands. When you clean the birds I would recommend finding a good book to help you clean the birds properly (or if you know someone who can show you how). If you don’t get the preen(oil/scent) gland out right it may make the bird taste bad.

Once we had them all cleaned and washed we took the skin on the end of the bird and wrapped it around the legs so the legs stay nice and tight to the body. Put them in freezer bags, then you have to put them in the fridge for a couple of days to “rest” then you can pull them out and wrap them in freezer paper. Put dates on them and put them in the freezer.

All dressed out the birds came in at 4.5 to 5.5 lbs and cost around $5.46 a piece we ended up with 12, we gave one to Bill for his help, one to the family who owns the chicken plucker, and one to the neighbor who lets us use his field for our sheep and pony to graze on.

Finished product

Finished product

That’s all the Cornish X broilers we have for now. We will be butchering some of the Delaware’s in a couple of months. The Delaware’s will be raised more on grass in chicken tractors, so it will be interesting to see how different they taste, or not!

Broilers 7 1/2 weeks

We are quiet pleased with how the broilers are doing even though the weather here has been a bit cold. It will probably be 2 more weeks, before the big day. We are making room in the freezer and planning a cook out. Broilers are a hybrid chicken created for the soul purpose of food. If you want to raise your own meat these Cornish rocks are a good choice. They grow fast and since they are to be butchered when they are young they are tender.

7 1/2 weeks

7 1/2 weeks

Broilers 7.5 weeks

Broilers 7.5 weeks