When you order chicks through the mail, the minimum with most hatcheries is 25. Having that many all together is supposed to help them stay warm. Generally, they send you an extra, a bonus chicken. So when we got those cute little chicks recently, there were 26.
Early this evening when I went in to check on them, one of the broilers had died. Just - died. We've had this happen before, and when you read up on these birds, it's not uncommon for some of them to die young. The big poultry farms factor this in as an expense.
We do what we can to prevent this. We keep them in a large enough space that they can walk/run/fly (though they just run and flap wings - they don't actually fly yet). We don't give them access to food all day, either. Many sources say that these birds will actually eat themselves to death if there is unlimited feed.
These birds have been bred to put on weight really, really fast. So fast that sometimes, their hearts can't keep up with the growth. This is yet another reason I want to breed/raise our own. Ours will be a strong cross breed with good growth, but they won't be the superchickens that the big boys raise.
I feel sad that this little chick died, and yes, I see the irony in that.
On a happier note, we are getting a few peas. They are all acting like English peas, so we are just letting them fill out, then we shell them. I planted snow peas and sugar snaps (and I labeled the rows!) but the pods are tough. The peas inside are sweet and tender, so we really can't complain.
The tomatoes are starting to bloom too, and the potatoes look wonderful. In a week, it'll be a different garden, because everything is just about to take off!