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How to care for older broiler chickens

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi.  I have three broiler chicks that I adopted from my son's school when they were a day old.  They are now almost two months old.  They seem to have trouble walking because the bodies of these girls are enormous!  I've noticed they are very greedy eaters when I put the feed out for them, not aggressive though and they lay down to eat, even when grazing in their large fence.  My four year old son helps take care of them.  I really like their laid back nature and I've never had chickens before.  These hens are my first experience and I'm very happy I have been able to successfully care for and raise them.  I do not wish to eat them but I have heard bad things about keeping them.  Things such as, "they will die around 9 months old from heart failure because they are such heavy birds" and "they will have deformed legs because the bones cannot grow fast enough to keep up with the meat".  Is there any truth to these rumors or can I keep them on for many more years as pets?  My sons (age 4 and 6) really like them as pets and I don't know how to explain eating his eggsxperiment from school!  Could someone please give me more information on broiler chickens and what I should do for their happiness in the future?  Thanks!

post #2 of 7

I have heard of people keeping them past the recommended age.  However I do not think its fair to them.  Too many health problems.

My dog was caught dust bathing!  Ok so it was mud.  I still think he is a chicken in a dog suit!!!!
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My dog was caught dust bathing!  Ok so it was mud.  I still think he is a chicken in a dog suit!!!!
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post #3 of 7

welcome-byc

This thread may shed some light on the subject of keeping broiler chickens for pets:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=498761

Unfortunately they do most often die young.  Their bodies outgrow their internal organs and their hearts especially cannot keep up. 

It is not at all unfair to keep them as pets however.  They can lead happy, carefree lives given good care.  Sadly, those lives are short.

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people.
A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, cochins, sebrights, bredas and call ducks.  R.I.P. Dragon, the crossbeak.  Thank you for teaching me so much about life.

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If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people.
A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, cochins, sebrights, bredas and call ducks.  R.I.P. Dragon, the crossbeak.  Thank you for teaching me so much about life.

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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

sad  Not what I wanted to hear, but thanks for letting for letting me know the facts.  I would have thought the school would have did their homework and not give out meat chickens for pets at school!  lol  Well, with that taken care of, does anyone know how to kill and process a live chicken?  My husband says he will do it because he doesn't want the meat to go to waste.  I need to know how much longer I should give them or is it okay to just wait for a natural death and process the meat then?  I don't know!

post #5 of 7

If you read some of the threads on the Meat Chickens forum you should get a very good idea on the raising, care, and processing of Cornish X (which is what you have).  Some really great threads over there.

post #6 of 7

I agree that the school should have done their homework! That's really an awful thing, to give out pets that aren't designed to live as long as we hope our pets should. It sounds like you are really enjoying your chickens. I hope you give other breeds a chance. There are some wonderful chickens for pets. I have several and even a very sweet one that hangs out and watches NCIS with me every night. You might want to research different breeds and see if getting a few to care for would be a good activity for you and your son. For example, many people love silkies as pets as they are friends, affectionate, small, soft, quiet, and very lovely birds to watch. Good luck!

Family: Amazing/Enabler husband, awesome boy,  ridiculous pug/chihuahua, goofy hound, many chickens & goldfish. I also adopted the sweetest "special needs" polish chicken, Clover, who lives happily in my bedroom and eats treats from my lap while watching NICS.
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Family: Amazing/Enabler husband, awesome boy,  ridiculous pug/chihuahua, goofy hound, many chickens & goldfish. I also adopted the sweetest "special needs" polish chicken, Clover, who lives happily in my bedroom and eats treats from my lap while watching NICS.
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the good suggestions!  I did find someone who is willing to trade my birds for a hardier bird.  These birds are coming off of a petting zoo and are well mannered which is what I need since my kids are so young and like to help.  The kids say they are farmers now since we got the chickens!  I just need chickens that a fun to watch and live a lot longer than a broiler and hopefully this trade of birds will work out well!

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