The Chickens are Cold! A story from Joel Salatin

I'm interested in becoming a serious chicken farmer, so I've been studying Joel Salatin's book, Pastured Poultry Profits. It's not a book for everyone, for sure, but I read a little story in it that I thought you might find amusing. (Actually, I have no idea who the heck you are, unless you're my dad, but I thought it was funny...) It's in his chapter called, "The Learning Curve," which is the chapter where he tells you all of the many things that can go wrong, and have gone wrong for him, while farming chickens:

"What else could go wrong? In April of 1990 we had had our first batch of 1200 chicks a week when we received a wet, heavy, 10 inch snow. April snows are highly unusual here, but this one came anyway. Around midnight, the electricity went off. The temperature was right at freezing. The chicks were just a few days old, and suddenly were plunged into darkness and no heat. We grabbed the shipping boxes the chicks had come in and madly began scooping chicks into the sections, trying to stay ahead of the birds as they panicked and piled up inside the brooder house. In an hour, we had all the chicks reboxed and stacked in the house, near the fireplace.

"I slept on the sofa all night to keep the fire going. All the ruckus kept me from sleeping too soundly. By morning, the power was still out and we had 1200 thirsty, hungry chicks in the house. What to do?

"There was no alternative but to turn the kitchen/dining area of the house into a brooder facility. I went to the shed to get a roll of poultry netting which I planned to tie with baler twine to the legs of the furniture, creating a big circle. Newspapers would be okay for litter until the power returned.

"When I came back in with the netting and walked in the door, the lights flickered and came back on. Teresa shouted, "Hallelujah!" We danced a jig, donned coat and boots, and began taking out boxes as fast as we could. In a few minutes, the chicks were all back in the brooders, as happy as could be. The total loss was about 20 birds." (P.151)


  1. Warning!

  2. That just can't be for real. I think you've been duped again, old man. ;)