Behaving like chickens!

White Rocks scratching in grass

The White Rocks, bred over decades for insatiable appetites and rapid growth, and likely to just eat, drink and SIT once they get growing, are behaving like CHICKENS! Every morning the door opens, three quarters of the 40 burst out on the run, tearing around, facing off in sudden skirmishes, and eventually settling down to scratch in the grass. At five weeks, they’ve practically doubled in size from when they arrived, they eat feed like maniacs, BUT, they do get out… We’ll see if all this exercise makes a difference as they keep growing and growing at their startling rate—for now at least, they seem happy and active and knocking back the bugs!

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9 thoughts on “Behaving like chickens!”

  1. you will find that white rocks (raised properly) are like other breeds ….only difference is they will be the type of meat people want.
    we raise 4500 that way

  2. An old farmer’s trick is give them chickweed. It really boosts growth. I’ve seen it work. We bought chickens, split the flock in half, and shared the other half with my wife’s employer. The chickweed fed chickens grew 10% bigger/faster. Also arugula (Rocket) is supposed to be another good supplement to their feed.

  3. Sue: Yep, they’re looking and acting really healthy so far!

    cathy: I remember your comments here from last year’s first 40 White Rocks, so I’m hopeful. I posted a question about them on the forum so if you get a chance, maybe you could add some tips! That’d be great…

    RobG: Fortunately, I guess, we don’t seem to have any chickweed around, if there is some, it’s really minor and not in our main in-garden weed line-up. But it sounds good, and I’ll keep my eye out for some… I will try the arugula, though they pretty much eat everything, so it may be hard to tell if there’s an effect without setting up a real test.

    Tom: Yeah, we haven’t gotten to a fencing solution yet, so I’ve just been letting them out. Every day they roam a little further, but they still stick close and they’re pretty easy to get back in at night, usually just a couple of contrary ones to round up, takes 5-10 minutes at most, and it’s still fun… I’m almost always here, and they go in if no-one’s around. I don’t think they’ll get attacked just yet, if they’re being scoped from the woods or the sky, hopefully it’ll be a while before a daylight sneak attack (I’m learning by experience! :). And, fence soon!

  4. Interesting; my White Rocks are 3.5 weeks old and still refuse to move. They just sit and eat. I’m really hoping when I put them into a pasture pen they roam around a bit more :)

  5. We just got  a few Delawares — our first foray into this venture — and we let them out to graze around quite a bit. Rounding them up is always fun, but usually a few shakes of the feed can is all it takes to get them following me like rats to the pied piper.

  6. Well, I stumbled on this blog just in time. I have thought about getting chickens, to assist with the growing Tic and bug problems we seem to be experiencing here in upstate NY. I was just wondering if they “fly” into the garden or will a gated enclosure stop them? How messy are they, as I have 2 young children running around where I would like them to eat?

    Thank you and I will check back soon:)

  7. Jedidja: That sounds like our first guys last year. I think you should try and get them out right now. We got them out around 3-1/2 weeks this year, too much after that, and they’ll probably be set in their ways. They’re only around for maybe 10 weeks!

    Bird: This year, I’ve been letting them out to roam free, no fence (haven’t had time). That’s fun, and makes rounding up always interesting. Every day, they’ve expanded their radius a little. Out of the 40, maybe 5 seem to be particularly adventurous (dunno if it’s always the same ones), roaming way past the others. I’d heard chickens don’t like tall grass, but some of these guys plow into a couple of grassy areas where it’s 2′ high, all-terrain chickens! The sound-of-feed trick doesn’t work on all of them either, which I think is good, they seem to be getting quite a bit from foraging. In the last couple of days, half don’t even come in when I fill the feeder. But they know the way home, so I walk behind, keeping them on course, with a long, light stick that I can get into their field of vision if they decide to make one of those turn-and-dart-back-past-you moves. That works! Anyhow, we’ll have to put a fence up really soon.

    Becky Ri: This is only my second flock of 40 or so that’ve been outside, so my experience is limited, and to White Rocks. These guys don’t get off the ground much, they’re only around for 10 weeks or so. I did have 10 more traditional birds free-ranging around for a year, and they could get up on a 3-4′ fence to roost when they got bigger. But a gated enclosure should keep ’em in fine. The droppings will be a problem if you don’t want kids in ’em, they’re everywhere, you’d have to keep the chickens separate in their own fenced-in run.

    There’s the busy BackyardChickens.com forum where you could find out more about all of this. You should definitely check it out before making a decision!

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