A little help for the most indecisive person in the world...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by EggsForIHOP, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    INDECISIVE! That folks is the word of the YEAR!

    I did decide to quit my job, it was my bright idea to move to a BIGGER place FURTHER out in the middle of nowhere, and as of this weekend I HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO FINALLY JUST DO IT AND ORDER BROILER CHICKS! Until now we have been getting them fully grown and ready to process SUPER cheap from a friend whose son raises them for showing - but this summer the heat and fires and subsequent evacuation took it's toll and there are none to be had until spring...and that's a maybe IF the kid wants to stick with broilers again...so it's time to do it ourselves!

    With only 2 whole chickens and some turkey left in my freezer...it's time to put my big girl panties on and raise us some meaties! And the best part now that I am unemployed I have time to actually do this and ask questions! Okay...here's the first one:


    The feed store I use (and keep in mind I have to travel far for feed now - really it's 20 miles to the closest gas station far) carries 4 kinds of feed that will apply to raising broilers:

    MEDICATED chick starter - 20% protein
    MEDICATED turkey starter - 28%
    MEDICATED "champion broiler" - 23%
    and an 18% "grower" which is NOT medicated

    With those stats and 25 cornish x chicks coming soon...What do you do? I'm not fully anti-meds...but it does seem somewhat pointless to be raising these birds SOLELY on medicated feed...maybe a little when they are little...but they get big so very fast...what do I feed the little buggers? I would like to have everything ready BEFORE they arrive - the brooder is getting set back up today and everything is getting a good cleaning out and going over.

    With those options as currently my nearest and most reasonable options - what do you feed?

    Also, if someone would check my math here - I figure for 25 chicks, 3 one gallon waterers and 4 of those 20 inch tray deals with the little sliding tops - you know, the red plastic ones from TSC - should be plenty enough to get them off to a good start - after 3 weeks its out in the tractors they go and I have that set up with the big 5 gallon homemade bucket feeders and I have plenty of buckets to spare if I need more - but for brooding purposes is that enough feeding/water equipment for 25 of the little chicken-zillas?

    Thanks in advance for any input - I really need someone to make up my mind on this one. I wanted to just try feeding the 20% through the end - as we raised all of our laying hens on that and then switched them to laying feed at 16 weeks - excess roos too and then processed them at about 20 - 24 weeks whenever we had them...but since it's medicated...what would ya'll do? Someone please...make up my mind, I can't make it up anymore!
     
  2. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One 50# bag of the medicated chick starter then finish with the non-medicated grower.

    Yes, that's enough waterers and feeders however they are messy birds and the waterers will need to be cleaned twice daily and your feeders will probably have to be filled once a day.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  3. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you - that's simple enough and makes sense. I wonder why the so-called show feeds are all medicated? I guess because they are gonna be showing and in questionable places with questionable birds? Still makes no sense to medicate something up til slaughter for no reason at all...but hey...I just want some plump home grown birds.

    And that "one bag of 20% then the rest 18% makes it SO easy to just go pick up one bag of each (or maybe 2 of the 18's) and not have to be back and forth a lot! I have a climate controlled feed/tack/storage/hot mess of a shed and try to get about 2 weeks plus a few days worth of feed for everything every trip - keeps every belly full and my gas tank too!

    We just put ducks in the freezer - gonna be cooking one this weekend for us - and I can't WAIT to start plucking chickens! Weird I know, but there is something so satisfy about knowing exactly how and where your dinner came from.

    Thanks again! (and yeah, I see me out there a million times a day checking on the little critters anyways - I wanta see if I really CAN watch them grow!)
     
  4. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know why they are medicated. I try to steer clear of the medicated with my meat birds. That first 50# bag will last a few weeks then they will quickly ramp up to more than a bag a week. Fortunately the more than a bag a week only lasts for a few weeks!

    After plucking 25 birds, plucking won't be so exciting. Your hands will be sore and STINKY! My right index finger was ouchy for a week after plucking 25 meaties and 8 turkeys (as well as the rest of the processing) in a 12 hour day with two people.

    Good luck, it's a very rewarding and satisfying experience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  5. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL...nah...it's my BACK that kills me after plucking and such all day long! Really, we've done SO many birds this last year (and a hog too on our own)...I don't even notice anymore things like smell...but if I could just get our processing "station" set up to do things from a lawn chair instead of on my feet I'd be in heaven! And I foresee myself culling some of the larger ones as we get closer - in groups of 5 or so - instead of shooting for everyone all at once. Between feeding the other animals and every thing else I think our max count in one day to date is 12 - and that's with the attachment DH built to go on the drill to facilitate plucking...which I can't find...and think got left behind in the move...I really hope I see it soon though, as those chicks ship out wednesday from Welp...I'll be ready though.

    Probably pick up one of each - just in case - when you live far and down a dirt road no less you are always prepared for "if I'm stuck due to flooding" situations (or like I almost did a week ago "if I hit a deer before the paved road and have to walk back home" - because I almost did). Out here I really gotta be ready for anything and I think one of each should carry us through in a what if for now.

    I'm so excited! We should have baby birds by Friday! Haven't dealt with this post office yet either...but I bet being so rural they get the drift - everyone here is so nice it's nuts! Now if only my order with the vitamins for their water beats them here I will be a happy camper!
     
  6. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Woohoo!!!

    I believe the little meaties eat exponentially - I had to grab a bag of 50lb grower from TSC yesterday, and they've eaten half in one day, and I put the other half in today - almost 25lbs of feed in one day for 40 of them. I'll pick up another 200lbs of feed tomorrow to last them hopefully until the next week, when I'll be doing as you say - start processing the biggest, and do a few each day or so until they're done.

    I think what I'm getting at is go ahead and get a bag of the medicated, and instead of getting one bag of the 18%, get a LOT of bags. At 15lbs average feed needed per bird for 25 birds, you're talking about about 375lbs of feed or so. Even if you get 200lbs at the first trip and 200lbs at the second, you'll be doing better than weekly trips - and if it's a local mill, they might even give you a discount for larger bags (I get 50lbs for $13 or 100lbs for $24 at my mill for the same 20% grower).

    Be prepared for a LOT of water - my 40 are going through almost 10 gallons a day now at 6 weeks.

    Have fun!
     
  7. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yeah - DH and I were discussing it and he said "Might as well get a third what you know you will need to finish them out, you're only gonna have to go to the feed store like 3 times while they are here you realize". So I suppose that means one bag of medicated and 3 at least of the other - like I was saying - our feed storage is climate controlled and barn cat/best little rat catching dog ever patrolled...so no worries on that. They keep anything that moves outta there, so if I buy too much for 2 weeks, I bet it's all gone in 3...no worries...

    I WISH I could find a local mill - I hear rumors there is one, but have yet to find it! If anyone has tips to help in the search, let me know - I know there has to be something near enough to be worth it. With horses, goats, poultry, and hopefully soon 2 more hogs - we blow through some feed (the rabbits are the only thing that doesn't eat much...YET!) For now I am sticking with driving a little to stick with a brand I know (mostly because of the horses) and because honestly, I can't find too much else any closer...but if I could find a real feed mill versus a dealer, I'd switch...I would.

    Now...I have ONE other minor dilemma that popped up today...which I will take to the "diseases" category and see what I get there before I ask again here in meaties....minor...but still debating what to do....always with the decisions to make...it's so hard! But thanks for helping ya'll! I appreciate it a ton! DH tries - but his thing is more hunting - it's like pulling dinner out of a hat for him.
     
  8. jcatblum

    jcatblum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For finding a local mill I asked all other "chicken" people what they were feeding their birds. I also called every co-op I could find in the phone book & when I googled.

    Called all the places & asked if they mixed feed if they said no I asked who did. Found 2 places within an hour of me. Asked around even more. Found 3 that were getting feed mixed & really happy with the same mill. So went ahead & ordered a big batch of feed-- we have over 100 birds so we use plenty!

    I opted to have my feed bagged-- an extra $1 per bag. Feed came out to .20c lb. Close to half price of what I would pay @ the farm supply store. Feed smells so fresh & the birds do love it. I do notice more waste, but even 10% waste I can't complain with the money savings. Figure it will save me over $1000 a yr on feed. Goal is to get 2 months worth of feed each time to save on driving out of my way to get feed.
     
  9. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you jcatblum - I had just mainly been googling and such and getting totally random stuff back - I will search some more the "old fashioned way" - I think with projects like this and the potential to expand my little farm now, it only makes sense to buy in bulk! (Plus I get antsy when I leave the house anymore - I'd rather be here!) Thanks again!
     
  10. WVDan44

    WVDan44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My rule of thumb is to have feeders with at least two spaces more than the number of chicks. Ask the store to order 20% non medicated for you (you may have to place a deposit) but otherwise, the suggestion to start with one bag of medicated and switch to non medicated, given your limited options, is a good one.
    Three one gallon waterers should be fine for about 3 weeks. At 4 wks old, mine are using a 3.5 gallon waterer and drinking about three gallon a day. The smaller waterers were getting knocked over and made a mess. Mine are now eating out of a large round metal feeder that cost about $29. I can load it up with enough feed to last 12 hours, which is the amount of time I allow them to have feed. For the first 5 days they have feed 'round the clock. The smaller feeders with the head stalls were getting tossed about and food was being wasted. I have kept waste to a minimum which is one key to thriftiness when raising these birds, I've found. Another is pasturing or free ranging. But I suppose the coyotes would have a field day where you are located. Here are mine at 4 wks, not quite feathered out. Raising these birds is an enjoyable experience. I wish you well!
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