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Feeding schedule for meat/broiler chickens ?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

What is the best feeding schedule to put broilers/meat birds on? I've raised lots of regular chicks, but not specialized meat birds.

From what I've seen giving then access to feed 24 hours a day is not a good idea...but I have not been able to find a lot information on an exact feed schedule.

Soooo....what is a good way of feeding them?

Urban Coyote

"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
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"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
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post #2 of 14

I've always fed my broilers free choice on broiler starter/finisher.  You hear two opinions here:

1)  Feed them free choice because they need all the protein they can get for the nutrition to keep up with how fast they tend to grow.

2)  Don't dare feed them free choice, because they'll grow too quickly!  Some people throttle them on a slow starter, so that the growth rate doesn't go out of control which leads to skeletal, nervous and heart problems.

It seems to me that either path you choose, you'll still lose meat birds.  I'd recommend going with the path which feels most ethical to you.

For me, free choice.  They sleep all night anyhow and are generally too indolent to walk over to the feeder during the night, so I see no point in picking the food up at night.

post #3 of 14

Not that I know what I am doing... I am on my first birds as well....but....

I feed 12 hours on 12 hours off...  Why?  A number of the hatcheries suggested to to reduce flip.  My are 3 weeks yesterday(from when i got them) and only have 1 loss(@ 24 hours since then nothing).....

They are growing like weeds and are little butterballs at 3 weeks.  Can't wait for the next 4 weeks....

My feed is 24%, 1 50 lb bag for 14 birds....  almost out should be by monday.  Then i will put them on Meat/Gamebird grower/finisher...

Not really scientific on how much feed I give them, just had to switch to a bigger feeder though once I thought about the feeder always being empty when I got home from work...

post #4 of 14

Mine seemed to be eating all the time (day and night) and were showing the beginnings of some structural bone problems, so I switched them to the 12 on/12 off schedule also and they are doing much better. I give them free choice feed during the day starting at about 7am and pull it up around 7pm. They get all the water they need though. Never leave meat crosses without water! They will die quickly from dehydration! Anywho, mine are also going on 3 weeks old and are quite plump. I haven't lost a single one to date.

post #5 of 14

I called MM to get advice,  I am raising ten layers with 15 meat birds.  I cannot separate them as I don't have another brooder/coop.  I have been informed you can raise them together, they are going to be 2 wks old this Sat.   I wanted to restrict food as the Meat birds eat all the time, even at night.  MM says to remove the food from 7 to 7, I asked if the layers would suffer any without food?  They said for the few weeks I have the meat birds around it shouldn't matter, as the layers would go back to 24 food after the meat birds are gone.  Has anyone raised them both together and what did they do about feed? I am feeding regular chick starter.

Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. I feel like I've just got to bite a cat! I feel like if I don't bite a cat before sundown, I'll go crazy! But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. That's what is known as real maturity. Charles Schulz/ Snoopy in Peanuts
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Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. I feel like I've just got to bite a cat! I feel like if I don't bite a cat before sundown, I'll go crazy! But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. That's what is known as real maturity. Charles Schulz/ Snoopy in Peanuts
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post #6 of 14

That's the big issue you raise there.  Broilers are typically on Broiler starter/finisher from beginning until end.  Putting the layers on that much protien could have consequences.

post #7 of 14

I'm sorry, but in my opinion, MM is way WRONG in this case. You should NEVER raise layers and meat birds together! The feeds they need are just far too different! The layers can not handle the protein in the meat bird feed, and if you feed normal chick starter to the meat birds, you will suffer in the end with scrawny thin birds not worth the effort to eat. You're best option is to seperate them.

I too, had only one brooder, and had both layers and meat birds to put in it. Simply divide it with cardboard, or other thin material, or even chicken wire! Simple to do and then all your birds will be at their best. We divided ours with a scrap piece of peg board my DH had layin around. Yes, it means you will need TWO feeders, and TWO waterers...but the meat birds will benefit from their own feed, as will your layers. In a few weeks, you will have healthy, plump meaty birds for your freezer, and then you can take out the divider and let your layers use the whole brooder.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for the replies! I will take this all into account for when the birds arrive.

Hmmmm....as for splitting a brooder, that's a good idea. I'd just make sure the meat birds could not see into the half of the brooder that the layers were in. Can you imaging the poor things looking at the layers food bucket and not being able to get to it.....talk about a tease!

Urban Coyote

"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
Reply
"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
Reply
post #9 of 14

I put up the cardboard "brooder guard" between the two halfs of my brooder (an old 150 gallon water trough).  Meat birds on one side, layers on the other.  If the weather cooperated, the meat birds leave the brooder about a week ahead of the layers.  They all then go into grower arks.

post #10 of 14

Thanks for the advice!!  We just got 52 meat chickens and had them on 24 hr food (they were 2.5 weeks old when we got them)  we have lost 4. :(  And they just didn't seem that healthy... Last night we pulled their food and this morning they seem to be doing better!  I think 24 hr feed just over does it for them!  Hopefully we won't loose any more!!! 

 

When can they go outside?  they are in a 4ft diameter metal tub but they don't seem to have full feathers...  We want them to be out in a "tractor" soon, but don't want them to get cold.. 

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