Bird management and selection question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by UBkevy, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. UBkevy

    UBkevy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Buffalo
    I am thinking of buying more chickens come spring. However I do not need the customary 25 that hatcheries request. There for I am thinking of getting 15 that I would keep for eggs and get 10 or more to slaughter. Now here is the problem I have 12 egg layers I am looking to remove from the flock. But I would want to slaughter or sell these birds in the fall (to still have eggs while the new ones grow). What would be the breed I would want that I could order in the spring say march and would survive and be of a good size by September? From what I understand most meat birds would be long dead by then. I also am wondering how do you decided on which bird to cull? And on what is the normal age birds would be of a good size to slaughter and when they would crow if I choose males to harvest?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    However I do not need the customary 25 that hatcheries request. There for I am thinking of getting 15 that I would keep for eggs and get 10 or more to slaughter.

    Some hatcheries, such as Cackle, will ship as few as 15. Ideal is another one that will ship less than 25.

    Now here is the problem I have 12 egg layers I am looking to remove from the flock. But I would want to slaughter or sell these birds in the fall (to still have eggs while the new ones grow). What would be the breed I would want that I could order in the spring say march and would survive and be of a good size by September?

    I agree with your timing. Any of the dual purpose chickens should do, except maybe Jersey Giants and maybe Brahmas. Those are slower to mature. If you are mainly interested in eggs, I'd suggest the sex links. They will get big enough to slaughter but will really do you a good job of laying eggs. Also, you have less chance of getting an unwanted rooster. Other than the sex links, I'd think any of the rocks or wyandottes, sussex, dominique, delaware, orpington, australorp, dorking, favorelle, buckeye and probably some I am forgetting would perform acceptably for you.

    From what I understand most meat birds would be long dead by then.

    If by meat birds you are talking about the cornish crosses, you do need to butcher them by the time they are two months old. If by meat birds you mean roosters of the dual purpose breeds, they can go longer but they do tend to get tougher as they get older. They will not have as much meat either.

    I also am wondering how do you decided on which bird to cull?

    My goals are different from yours so my criteria is different. I cull the ones that show physical or behavioral characteristics that are other than what I want in my flock. My goal is to develop a flock that gives good meat birds primarily with decent egg layers as a second priority. Broodiness is high on my good list. The first ones I eat are the slower developing smaller chickens, pullets or cockerels. I mark the first pullets to lay. If they are equal in the size criteria, I keep the ones that lay first. If I have one that goes broody before I complete my culling, she will move to the keeper list regardless of other criteria. I have three Orpingtons that are laying. They all meet the size criteria, but one lays on the coop floor instead of in the nesting boxes. Since they are otherwise equal, the floor layer is on the cull list, but she will be one of the last ones culled before I get to my final laying/breeding flock.

    And on what is the normal age birds would be of a good size to slaughter and when they would crow if I choose males to harvest?

    For my dual purpose birds, I found that 16 weeks is a pretty good age, but I am only doing 1 or 2 a week, so many of mine will be older when they go to the kitchen. You just have to cook them slower. As far as crowing, my roosters were crowing long before they wereready to be eaten.
     

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