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Best way to know if meat birds are safe to eat.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by gsperry, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. gsperry

    gsperry Hatching

    Dec 18, 2013
    I have 20 birds that I need to harvest. I've lost several in the last few days. After some research, I think it is because I was free-feeding them and they have way overeaten with too much protein. They are about 6 weeks, but when I compare them to my neighbors from the same order, they are about twice as big. He said they are bigger than his when he harvests at 7-9 weeks.

    Anyway, I thought maybe something else is going on. So I want to know how to tell if they are safe to eat. How do I know they don't have some sort of disease that could make us sick when we eat them?


  2. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chirping

    Oct 19, 2013
    Bremond, Texas
    I'd take a close look at what I'm feeding them. I've seen broiler starter as high as 26% protein. This is great if you have some control over how much and how often they eat, but feeding something like that free-choice could be too much for them. As far as the saftey issue, unless you are feeding them something unsafe they should be techinically fine for consumption. They grow that fast because they are crosses of certain breeds that have very large muscling et cetera, with the end gentic results being a bird that responds quickly to inputs (like bermudagrass in a lawn versus native buffalograss).
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I'm thinking they're fine.

    Have the birds that died seemed ill? Respiratory symptoms, things like that? When meaties die, it's usually from chf or ascites, and you have birds that are basically fine, then listless with dark/purple combs, then dead. Sometimes they're fine and no symptoms, just dead at next check. If you're losing a lot of birds, it's way time to process.
    1 person likes this.
  4. gsperry

    gsperry Hatching

    Dec 18, 2013
    Thank you for your reply.

    They seemed fine for the most part. Then I would go check on them and one would be dead on its back. Some of their combs were a bit purple.

    I harvested them last night and the livers looked just fine. The gizzards were surprisingly small and the hearts were quite big and softer than normal. I guess it must have been the cold weather and me over-feeding them that was causing heart failure.

    Based on the looks of their insides, I think they are just fine and we will be enjoying some rotisserie this weekend.

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