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Feeding meat chickens

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

I was told after the 1st week, pick up the food at night. Only let them feed for 12 hrs.  I notice they eat just as much in 24 hrs as they do in 12 hrs. Only when I put the food down in the AM they go cazy and they gorge themselfs. I notice during the day they are not always eating. When they get older should I pick the food now it just does not seem to make sense.

post #2 of 63

According to the Welp Hatchery site, starting at one week pick up the feed around 7 at night and put it back down at 7 in the morning.  Since Welp specializes in Cornish X, I figure they know what they are talking about.  Limiting the feed this way does help to prevent a lot of health problems.  The first time I raised some Cornish X, or tried to, I left the feed down 24/7.  Had nothing but problems.

The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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post #3 of 63

Here is what Murray McMurray hatchery recommends in their catalog.  This is how we fed the 16 we had and it seemed to work really well.

"Try starting these groups on broiler starter (22-24% protein). The higher protein seems to help them avoid problems).  We would also recommend you not let these birds eat all they want.  Fill feeder each day and let the feed run out in the later afternoon.  Research has shown these birds will grow just a fraction slower but have considerably less problems by not feeding them continuously.  Also, add extra amount of vitamins from the start.  We recommend Quick Chik or Broiler Booster in the water from start to finish."

Hope that helps

Sandee

Life is a party - so enjoy the food!  Just the 2 of us living the great life on our 8 acres with one outside kitty Ms. Bella Noel, 31 hens, garden, fruit trees and now bees!  Enjoying my new art studio!!
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Life is a party - so enjoy the food!  Just the 2 of us living the great life on our 8 acres with one outside kitty Ms. Bella Noel, 31 hens, garden, fruit trees and now bees!  Enjoying my new art studio!!
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post #4 of 63

I wait one week, then start restricting food so that have at MOST 12 hours of food per day.  As they get bigger, they will eat everything you put down, and it will make them unhealthy, and you'll go broke buying food.

post #5 of 63
Thread Starter 

They are over two weeks now. I see your point:). I still have only loss 3.

post #6 of 63

this is what I have done:  after they have feathered out.... I make sure that in the morning that they have to walk around their pen about three times befor e i give the feed ...I also would throw on the ground some feed so that they had to m-o-v-e to feed.

I did not want the leg problems...then I would go back and put more feed in their feeders.(make sure the feeders are as high as their backs so they have to stand to eat)  same with the water.

I will only let them free choice till late afternoon and then hold the feed till morning.  the first time I had the cornish X I kept feed in front of the all the time and lost 4 from heart attacks.

I also was able to let mine eat all the grass and greens they wanted...watermelon rinds and any other veggies or bugs they could find.   I also feel that the water is critical!!!!   Keep fresh water in front of them.  at 4weeks 20 birds went through 4gallon a day and I was giving about 6-8 gallon up till yesterday( they were 71/2 weeks and avg. 7.2 lbs.

the last 2 weeks i switched from 20% protein to 24% with cracked corn and all the veggies they wanted.  it was getting expensive as some say but at least we know what we are eating.

enjoy and good luck.    ps i am verymuch a rookie at this  but that is what i did.  oh I also would give the yogrut and the apple cider vinager in their water.

post #7 of 63

I know this is an old thread but I thought that my 11 meat white rocks are eating like little monsters and was going to check to see what options I have.  Is this still the recommended method.. I keep mine active.. they are in a mobile pen which gets moved around my yard.

..they seem fairly active and I haven't lost any yet.. only  a week to go but so far I think they've gone through 3 25kg bags of grower AND 1 25kg bag of starter in 7 weeks (possibly 4 of the grower I have to go back and look but I'm almost certain it is 3)...

 

They will eat the grass and love bugs.. so far they seem to eat the majority of scraps we give them... but I've been giving them food pretty much 24/7.. although some times they run out here and there before I get up or get home.  At this point I will keep going with what I'm doing but the next group I may change up.

post #8 of 63

I have always offered free feed round the clock for the first 3 weeks, while they are in the brooder under the light.  When they graduate to the coop, they have food available at all times until they put themselves back into the coop late at night, where they only have water.  I make sure to fill the feeders in the morning BEFORE i open the coop at 6:00 a.m. -- less stampeding and craziness.  I use a long section of gutter as a feeder (mounted on legs) so there is more than enough room for everyone to line up at the feeder without trampling one another. 

 

I feed 100% organic (detest GMO's)  and even without restricting feed (except during dark of night) I have NEVER had a single cornish cross expire from heart attack or get leg problems.  My birds are active and moving about much of the day.  After a few weeks on starter, I keep them on 21 or 22% protein until about 5 or 6 weeks, then switch back to the 16% protein for the remaining time.

 

I find that 24 or 25 birds get to perfect weight (minimum of 6 pounds dressed out) on a total of  8 bags of  feed.  Seems like when the 8th bag of feed is gone, they're always ready.  Usually takes about 7.5 weeks.

 

This feeding program works best for me because I find it is a huge undertaking to keep the birds safe from predators and be home to keep feeders and waterers filled and close them in at night.  I want this project over with as soon as possible.

 

I'm curious to know whether the broilers eat the same amount of feed in a day whether it has been offered over the course of 12 hours or 18 hours, due to calorie needs.  

 

It works best for me to keep food in the trough at all times, as this way the birds can eat whenever they are hungry and not just stuff themselves silly when food is offered.  On those occasions I accidentally let the feeder get empty, filling it was difficult with the birds swarming around my feet and acting frantic and mobbing the scene.   This thread is very interesting, hearing different strategies and their outcomes!!!!

From egg layers to meat birds, I love them all.  Have you kissed your chickens today?
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From egg layers to meat birds, I love them all.  Have you kissed your chickens today?
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post #9 of 63

I find that they generally have a frenzied feed in the morning.. but then don't really touch much of the food during the day until later in the afternoon.. by evening they simmer down and cuddle in for the evening.. most nights when I go to bed they have feed in their feeders.  Occasionally I'll see one saddled up the the trough pecking away lazily.. but usually they chow down like crazy.

 

I haven't got the experience to guess on weight.. I'm going to try and weigh them... they are all pretty mobile.. although most are HUGE from what I expected.  Several are more along the line of chickenly.  Being our first round with them I just went with what I could get.  I asked them at the TSC for a list of what is in the "grower".  Since they didn't have any for the last bag I got the scratch feed.  They don't seem to care one way or another so far but the scratch feed looks like things I can recognize.  However I hadn't considered the GMO thing.  I expect to have the ingredients list by Tuesday.

 

If I could I'd prefer to mix my own chow for them directly from a farm.. but I can't even find a wheat berry supplier in my area so I expect it will take some time to source out all these things.  Overall I'm happy with them.  The white rocks are nice looking birds but I'm worried a bit about the genetics at play here.. some of these birds look like mutants from what you'd picture in your head when you think chicken.

 

I think I'll modify my feeding for the next flock and see if the overall quantity changes at all.  I'm surprised that they are picky about scraps though.. they don't seem to like bananas.. which I thought they'd love.... perhaps they prefer they be served on a plate as opposed to the ground.. who knows.  Or they don't like the browning ones..

post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlock40 View Post

I find that they generally have a frenzied feed in the morning.. but then don't really touch much of the food during the day until later in the afternoon.. by evening they simmer down and cuddle in for the evening.. most nights when I go to bed they have feed in their feeders.  Occasionally I'll see one saddled up the the trough pecking away lazily.. but usually they chow down like crazy.

 

I haven't got the experience to guess on weight.. I'm going to try and weigh them... they are all pretty mobile.. although most are HUGE from what I expected.  Several are more along the line of chickenly.  Being our first round with them I just went with what I could get.  I asked them at the TSC for a list of what is in the "grower".  Since they didn't have any for the last bag I got the scratch feed.  They don't seem to care one way or another so far but the scratch feed looks like things I can recognize.  However I hadn't considered the GMO thing.  I expect to have the ingredients list by Tuesday.

 

If I could I'd prefer to mix my own chow for them directly from a farm.. but I can't even find a wheat berry supplier in my area so I expect it will take some time to source out all these things.  Overall I'm happy with them.  The white rocks are nice looking birds but I'm worried a bit about the genetics at play here.. some of these birds look like mutants from what you'd picture in your head when you think chicken.

 

I think I'll modify my feeding for the next flock and see if the overall quantity changes at all.  I'm surprised that they are picky about scraps though.. they don't seem to like bananas.. which I thought they'd love.... perhaps they prefer they be served on a plate as opposed to the ground.. who knows.  Or they don't like the browning ones..

Warlock40,  I'd get back on the Grower ASAP, as scratch does not have nearly enough protein for the rapid growth of these birds. It's strictly grains (carbs).   Get the grower as soon as it's available, and slowly use up your scratch by mixing in a little at a time.  Or, use the scratch for the last few days of feeding and get a "corn fattened" effect!  I just processed my 24 organically fed broilers.  They were EXACTLY 7 weeks old today, and they dressed out around 5.5 pounds each, without neck/liver/giblets.

From egg layers to meat birds, I love them all.  Have you kissed your chickens today?
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From egg layers to meat birds, I love them all.  Have you kissed your chickens today?
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