Great thread! Got my first 6 meaties from TSC last week and am having a blast with them.
Oh, and Happy Birthday!!!!
Hi, noobie here, last time I raised broilers, we only had the pail or can type waterers and now I want to use the new side action nipples suspended from either a square tube or a round pipe. Anybody out there who has had some experience with the new system and any tricks or tips that go along with the system? Thanks, Fred
Where do you get your birds processed, I am north of Kazoo and am looking for a good processor to do 50 birds in a day. I just joined today, have been out of the loop and just retired. Back into chickens again. I will be raising 100 broilers May to June for July 4th picnics. The last 100 I did 10 years ago I processed all of them myself and ended up skinning them instead of plucking them. Was still al ot of work. But the meat is sooo good. would like a good csa Telluria.
google: yo-mill grazers nottawa michigan
and you will find the phone number of the place. there are several other CSAs in the same area, but I do not know if any of the others do processing.
Today I learned my first meat bird lesson:
Never allow your daughter to fill their water. Why is this, you might ask? The answer lies in position. I have water at one end, food at the other, and the chicks just sort of flop inbetween when they aren't eating or drinking. My daughter fit the waterer in, about a chick's width from the feeder. I woke up to find a chick had positioned itself so that without moving it could turn its head and eat or drink. Now, they are nine days old and in five days I'll go to weighing the food, but right now they are free to eat. And that appears to be what they'll do. Just lay in the shavings and turn their head to eat, drink, eat, drink. They're like feathered pigs.
Don't be like me.
Make sure your meaties work for their food and water. Or at least walk for it. never seen a set of chicks that just lay around like this, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me.
So when my wife asked what I wanted for my birthday this year, the only absolute answer I had was "no more 'things'". Then a few days later I said, "You know, the feed store in Monroe has cornish x birds. I think what I want is to raise a few and try them. Think of it like buying me a chicken dinner about six weeks in advance." To my surprise, she agreed, but wanted to know how many. "Four," I said, "to keep things simple as a trial run. I can brood them in the cage and keep them in the small pen till they are ready to go to camp."
The next day she said "You know, those birds often don't survive. Go ahead and get six." Last night I was explaining my cunning plan to raise meat birds and my wife said "You know, six isn't really enough. What if they are good?" and who am I to argue? So it's ten now.
I love that woman.
As we got ready to leave this morning she said "Remember the animal rules (no animals we don't agree on)?" and I most certainly did. "How many are you getting?" she asked, and I said ten, and then she paused and said "twelve." So I planned on four. I agreed to six. I have twelve in the brooder, doing the normal cornish thing, which to me looks weird - they are doing two of four actions in three combinations:
Food is at one end and the water is at the other, and the proper location of a meaty appears to be right in between the two.
These little ones are about a week old according to the feed store, and they are large for that age - actually have weight to them (not saying they are table material, but your average week old chick is feather light - these guys...not so much). And for week old chicks, they sure don't care much for the heat lamp. My surface thermometer says that they should be nestled just underneath it, but they are bedded down quite comfortably in a 70 degree area. I have an 8x8 area where I intended to raise four (actually, two 8x8 areas, so hat I can move it over and shovel the manure into the wheel barrow. I have the compost box ready to go (with a bunch of compost already in). I have a hundred pounds of feed in the bucket (which is about as much as I like to keep on hand)
What have I gotten myself into?
First off, I want to commend you on you quick learn of "chicken math" .
It's a wonderful endeavor and I think you will be rewarded in the end. Don't give up.
here are a few things i have learned. Keep them on a high protein diet (no less than 20%) the first 2 weeks, have them eat around the clock. going into the third week, I take up the food and shut off the lights at night.. week 4, they are outside, in a pen that is portable for fresh grass, a little sunshine and recess. I move the pen EVERY day. Fresh grass, no build up of poop and less chance for illness, they still get no food at night when the lights are out. Keep them dry and out of mud..keep fresh water in front of them always. I elevate the feeders to prevent them from pulling up a chair to the buffet table. I make them work a little more for their food and water. Oh, I too have food at one end and water at the other..
My pen (PVC tractor is 8x10) It weighs about 50 pounds and its easy to slide across the grass to a new spot everyday. My meaties know when they see me on one side, they run in front of the wall that's moving to keep from being run over. They look forward to fresh grass and bugs..
Yup - that's my biggest thing - I like to raise livestock with care and respect, knowing they will be food. A lot of folks I work with just can't fathom the concept (heck, most of society can't). I just hatched out three turkeys a few days ago, and folks are flabbergasted that I plan on raising them to eat. Same with the "cute" chicks. I care for them, like them, but will eat them, knowing they were healthy, well cared for, and comfortable their whole time I had them. Most of the grocery store meat can't say the same....
Well, I believe I have foune non-GMO corn and non-say chicken feed for my meaties. I should know tonite and/or later this week. I have found a mill that will do it and hope to have it shipped without too much cost. Anyone interested in a diet like this for health reasons, let me know here on this thread. Fred