Update on Broilers, Water Pump, and All

Greg Hayslip at Chemilizer sent me an email about my problems with my chlorine-injector unit. Looks like the issue is that, when they say, “Lube the O-rings with silicone lube,” they don’t mean Vaseline. I figured it was something dopey like that. I’ll find out Sunday. (I need chlorine in the water to get rid of the slime bacteria that clog the filters that remove the smell (and also the chlorine) from my iron- and sulfur-rich well water.)

Things have been busy around here. At my day job on the WANScaler group at Citrix Systems, we shipped updates to absolutely everything (including two brand-new products) within a short timeframe. Plus, I invented a spiffy new speed optimization and foolishly volunteered to do all the performance testing myself to help get the feature out the door. “How hard could it be?” I asked myself. A lot harder than writing a test plan and letting the guys with the right equipment do it, especially since I did it three times. This has left with with little energy left for the farm.

The broilers who had an inexplicable case of coccidiosis are fine now, through the totally explicable effects of a sack of medicated feed. Chalk one up for modern technology.

The older broilers, who are eight weeks old now and were totally coccidiosis-free, are a little disappointing in size, dressing out in the 2.5-3 pound range. We were hoping they’d be at least half a pound larger. There are Privett Slow Cornish broilers. We have a couple more tricks up our sleeve, but if the next couple of batches aren’t any bigger, we’ll probably revert to the fast-growing modern hybrids.

The issue is that slow-growing birds cost more to raise, because it takes more labor per pound of product — and not many customer are willing to pay, say, $2 more per pound just for birds that we like better, but which don’t taste any better. Worse, once they hit ten weeks or so, customers start complaining about toughness. So the clock is ticking.

Modern hybrids are lethargic and less fun to raise, and you need to raise them more gently and carefully than other chickens, but they sure grow fast.

And it’s raining, raining, raining. I feel sorry for the people who rely on their hayfields, because the grass is all headed up already. By the time the weather is dry enough for haying, it’s going to be more like straw than hay, and you only get one cutting a year here in the Oregon Coast Range. Another good reason to raise chickens instead. They don’t mind a little rain, or even a lot of rain, if there’s a roof to get under when it comes down hard.