Just saying, " I am a newbie to chickens. My son and I decided to buy 20 meat hens and 20 reddish brown laying hens (I think they are called red tetras but unsure). They are the breeds offered by my local feed store. The meat birds and the little red hens are so different. The meat hens grew fast and got so fat their bellies were scraping the ground causing nasty looking sores under their bellies. I also found them dirty as well but that was mainly my lack of understanding re coop maintenance but I have improved a great deal and I am currently using the deep litter method but debating about going to sand. The chickens don't spend much time in their coop except for when they are closed in for the night. Hence the nasty sores under my meat hens as well. We discovered one day while I was leaning over the fence as to which white meat bird was crowing? Then it dawned on me that in fact there wasn't just one. We had 12 roosters! They were mean always fighting so we sent them to our freezer camp. These meat hens once dressed are huge! We kept one rooster (mean and a bully) and the rest of the hens. The rooster started to pick on one of the hens really doing harm and we had to put her down and now he has injured two others. The other two injured hens are okay now but one lives with my son because her leg was broken and she has turned out to be quite the gal. The other white hen lives with me in my porch and she is also an interesting bird and her wounds have healed but I cant put her back in the coop or the rooster will kill her. My dog Pip looks after her (we are not sure if he is being honorable or not) and she knows her way around the yard. We still have the rooster although I would be just as happy to do him in but my son likes him and calls him Leghorn Foghorn. I keep him away from the hens except the red tetras who ignore him anyway. What I have done with the rest of my meat birds is to put them on a diet of bugs, greens, and what ever else they can forage for themselves and they seem to be happy and they seem to be in very good health and they have beautiful white feathers. They are free range in the day and come back to the coop to roost in the evening, and are shut in for the night. I feed them crumble then and have water accessible all the time. I like the white hens and they do behave like chickens at least how I think chickens are supposed to act except the Roos. I do understand to some degree the gentleman's dislike of them I did at first. Will I get more of them again?No, I don't think so,I have my heart set on some cochin and Icelandics come Spring. Oh and I forgot to say we have two white midget turkeys, a Tom and a hen who chum around with the chickens and they are wonderful pets.
I came to this forum because I wanted to know if my white meat hens can be kept past the recommended cull date or will they drop dead of a heart attack or stroke due to their obesity. I have my answer and I thank you all. I too have nothing but contempt for those who redesign chickens or any other species. All the best