Backyard meaties??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MonicainAZ, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. MonicainAZ

    MonicainAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all, I'm considering possibly raising meat chickens in the future, and my husband thinks I am insane. So of course I have come to you all for a sanity check. That may be questionable judgement on my part given that you are also crazy chicken people, haha, but at least you have experience!

    Is it reasonably feasible to raise chickens for meat in an urban backyard? I have a 9,000 sq ft lot in the city. I am allowed to have chickens, but not roosters. It seems like it could be feasible to either raise cornish x in an outbuilding, or raise a few large-breed cockerels and butcher them when they start crowing? I am thinking maybe half a dozen or so, max, and leaning toward the meaties as the experiment will be faster.

    Is this a truly terrible idea or am I just normal chicken crazy?? :)
     
  2. anob89

    anob89 Out Of The Brooder

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    sounds simple enough to me. I say go for it! I just got my first batch of freedom rangers and Cornish cross in last week. Looking forward to seeing which breed I like better. you don't need much room for a few meat chickens. Good Luck!
     
  3. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would say try the dual purpose cockerels because you do not have to fund Big Bad Ag companies like you would with getting Cornish x, and you could get the cockerels for free in most places.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If you're new to the whole meat bird thing, I'd say start with half a dozen Cornish cross. Read threads about tractoring them, and give them lots of space to spread the poop. 6 birds will be plenty for you to get your feet wet, and it's a fair amount of chicken to find freezer space for. Processing can easily be done in one or two sessions, even for a newbie. The upside to this breed, especially for folks new to eating their own birds, is that they look just like the chicken you get from the store. Familiar is good to most folks. Dual purpose cockerels look quite different, with razor breasts and just way less meat overall, so the look puts some folks off. Plus, you're looking at about 6 months for those boys to grow out, vs 8 weeks for the CX.

    I'd look into fermented feed for the meaties. I tried it for my layers and it was too labor intensive ( I have multiple pens), but for meat birds I would go that route.

    If you're happy with the CX after you process, order some more and maybe increase the amount of birds at that time. Keep in mind how much freezer space you have to store the birds, or look into canning to preserve them.

    Then, down the road, you can play around a little. Order some slower broilers, or some dual purpose birds. They all taste like chicken, but some do have a different texture, and some don't grow as large. The nice thing is, you really can't make a mistake, cause you're eating them anyway......
     
  5. MonicainAZ

    MonicainAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the advice, I can certainly see merits to both approaches.

    I've thought about tractoring the meaties, but I'm not clear how much space I'd need for 6 birds? Not just in the tractor itself, I'm not sure if I have enough lawn overall? Presumably they can eat Bermuda grass?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  6. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They don't only eat grass they will eat bugs and scratch around for whatever they can find, you can use a pretty small tractor for 6 birds cx don't require much space. Another up side to the cx is they only take 8 weeks to grow out, standard dual purpose chickens don't have much meat on them and they have even less if you butcher when they start to crow. You will want to stick with smaller batches of cx birds if you have a small yard as they are a messier variety of chicken compared to regular layer breeds but fermented feed supposedly does help with that, I haven't tried it personally
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I wouldn't build a tractor with only 6 birds in mind, I'd build with an eye to at least 10. You can always have fewer birds than you have space for, but there reaches a point when you can't cram any more in a small space. So, go bigger to start with! I like to give my birds a lot of room, IMO that's the whole point of raising my own meat. If I want to eat a bird that's had 2 square feet of living space, I can get that from Foster Farms.

    Your birds can eat Bermuda grass, but don't expect them to get tons of their nutrition from the grass, most of it will come from the feed.
     
  8. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would not go any smaller than 100 square feet. Most will tell you that you can go a lot smaller, but I think even 100 square feet is small actually.
    Just an idea - you could use a 10 by 10 dog kennel. Those come up for cheap on places like Craiglist. Or, build a hoop house.
     
  9. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I were looking for a tractor for meat birds in a small yard is build something with a lightweight frame of wood and hardware cloth, fasten a tarp on top for shade and have it easily removable so you can open the top for feed and water access, your tractor doesn't need to be big enough for you to walk in just big enough for the chickens to walk in. I built a 3 section hoop coop for a extra meat birds shelter not so much a tractor though I do move it around some and it is very heavy, I wouldn't recommend that for an easily mobile tractor in a smallish yard, mine moves easiest with help from the tractor or atv,I plan to build some sort of collapsible axle for it next year to make it easier.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  10. MonicainAZ

    MonicainAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, my question isn't just about the tractor size per se. Let's say I build a 10X10 tractor for them. My back yard grass area is approximately 60X40. If I move it every day, that means I would hit every spot in 24 days. Is that enough rotation?

    Thanks for all the help!
     

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