6 week mark

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Two Creeks Farm, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Coming up on the 6 week mark, and the birds appear healthy, just not growing as fast as before. I am geussing it is the heat.

    I wont let them out of their tractor until the first two feedings are all gone, then they get to freerange all day. I do move the feeder and water to where ever they go, usually have to move it twice a day as they follow the shade.

    I am thinking that they may need to stay in the tractor for the last two weeks and do nothing but eat feed? Open to insights and suggestions. Not really looking for a 12 pound bird but would like to see all of them 4.5 to 6 pounds dressed. They range from 3 to 5 now....still on the 4th bag of feed since the day I got them. These guys freerange just fine here! I know the weighst are a tad shallow due to the freeranging.....but they sure seem to be healthy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  2. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

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    They should have food available to them in 12/12 cycle---all they can eat for 12 hours and then take away at bedtime. If they go without feed and you are free ranging them thinking they will gain weight that way it wont truly happen:( They should stay in a tractor so as not to get tons of exercise to lose all the weight they are gaining. Sounds barbaric but unfortunately is the life of a meat bird.
     
  3. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have food/water daylight till dark, and they range but just to shade(been very hot here) way to hot. They rest, eat feed, eat what I have planted, drink then back to the shade. They seem to prefer to eat the grasses over their food in all honesty, which is fine, it is of very high protien. From what ive read, the next 2 weeks should see some heavy growth. Pretty sure we are on target to hit our weights, just wanted to see if holding them up would be detrimental especially with the very hot weather.
     
  4. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've noticed a slow down in feed consumption in my 4-7 week old birds as well. You're right, it's due to the heat. I know when it's hot I tend to eat less as well. I don't think locking them up is going to make a huge difference. In fact, if they eat more, I would think it might overheat them more. I say keep doing what you're doing. Your birds are happy and healthy, so what you're doing is working.
     
  5. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks brf....thats what I was thinking just needed some advice.
     
  6. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Working on making the appointment for freezer camp. Looks like june 28th which means they will get an extra week so I am certain now they will be at our weight even with a light feed schedule. I still havent laid hands on a plucker but should have one here by fall so I will do my own butchering then. Ive plucked by hand before , decided I am just to lazy(spoiled) to do it that way again especially in the heat!

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  7. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are capable of building it, a Whizbang is the ticket. I can't imagine plucking birds by hand now. The first time we ever butchered we did them by hand, and that was the first and last time. My hat is off to those of you that do it.
     
  8. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know the OP is pretty much all set..but some one else might be looking for more info on this so thought I'd chime in anyway:



    Quote:This is definitely true, so it really depends on what you choose to do personally. Our meat birds free range from 7AM to 9PM, and at 6 weeks old, though some are right on target for weight, others are a bit behind. We knew that choosing to free range them (I have 24 hour access to feed and water) could slow their growth down. Some might need to go a couple weeks longer, which is fine for us personally, as it was important to us not to have them in a tractor all the time. Different strokes for different folks is what it boils down to. If it is very important to have them to weight by 7, 8 weeks, then free ranging is not the necessarily the best option, and containing them in a tractor, with the proper feed, is your best bet if the heat doesn't interfere.

    Like you said, by the 28th, your meaties will probably be exactly where you wanted them anyway!!

    Best of luck!
    -Jessa
     
  9. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bfr....I have access to one but its 4 hours away and I dont have the extra cash to snag it just yet. I previously posted about it, a full on brand SS unit that my boss of 19 years scored in an auction. Im sure he would give it to me, I just havent had the chance to go visit. And the AG teacher neigbor is all for having his students build a few when school starts back up so im on the hunt for the various items I need. I have 25 FR on deck and 15 BBB's heating up for fall as well LOL!

    Ours have been doing very well free ranging. Ofcourse they dont meander all over the place like the regular birds, but its not uncommon to find them a hundred yards from the tractor in a nice shady spot. Thats when I relocate the water and a feeder just so they do not have to go back and forth in this heat. We are looking at temps in the high 90's today which is way hotter then normal for this time of year, poor gardens look like crap! I think most of our free ranging success is stemming from what we have planted here. All the birds go apey over the birdsfoot trefoil. In the morning and evening the cornish just plop down and eat then move a foot and repeat. I move the tractor daily just to give them a clean area to overnight. Plans are for a much larger batch this fall done the same way except I will just build a moveable coop for overnight security with a shade /rain break. I think a 50 or 100 count batch should be just about right and feed costs will be very managable as the trefoil and alfalfa/clover will be back in full swing.

    The Freedom Rangers are doing very well and are very hefty for being a few weeks old, 4 tomorrow to be exact. I feed them and have kept food in front of them during the day but will start cutting back just a tad as they venture out further from their outdoor brooder/tractor. They have been outside since their 2nd week and forage great.

    They mix well with the others and have a huge attitude, very entertaining to watch! They will go chest to chest with any bird here and will gang up if needed haha!

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    The wife said so far she prefers the FR over teh Cornish. I think they fill an area with droppings about equal LOL!

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    Our BBB's are doing well also, they are almost trained and will come to my call. Wife did not find it funny when 8 or 10 of them flew from the field and kamakazied her! Its been alot of work and fun so far!

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  10. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I hadn't planned on keeping 50 of my last batch of CX for our freezer, I'd give those FR a try. As it is, we have an additional 75 left in my last batch, so I see no need to try them at this point. I would think about a Fall batch, but CX do so well in the cooler weather of Fall, I doubt I'll try them this year. I am interested in comparing, but from what you have described, seems it would be 6 of one, half dozen of another.
     

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