Broilers, diet, and harvest age

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Organic Acres, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Organic Acres

    Organic Acres Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2013
    Hi everybody.

    I decided to make the new thread for this question:

    I am growing three broilers, about what to feed them: I don't use commercial feed at all. I grow Wheat, corn, Barley and Oats on my field. I mix Barley, oats and wheat together and give them that "on demand" whole, and I take that same mix and add 15% corn and then run it thru my neighbour's grinder and put out a second feeder giving them the ground mix - this is more for the younger birds but they all eat it. I buy bulk ground oyster shells, which even the rooster and the young birds eat, and for protein I let them range on pasture and on the plowed field where they dig up worms and eat insects. In the winter I will probably give them a protein supplement though. (Soybean meal, probably, but I'm not sure yet)

    The eggs that I get from my layers giving them this diet are the most fantastic thing I have ever seen. They are deeply coloured, very flavorful and frankly they are totally awesome. Everybody I know lines up around the block wanting some of them.

    My three broilers are now around 8 or 9 weeks old, and are a bit bigger than my adult layers. I'll process them today but I am worried that I might have waited too long and the meat might be tough. Remember that they free range on pasture so they spend all their time running around chasing bugs and digging stuff.

    Other than age, how can I know when to slaughter them? Different broilers grow at different speeds under different conditions, so you can't just use age. Is there some other way to know when to slaughter them?

    These ones were raised by a broody hen, not in a brooder.
     
  2. You can "target" the weights you want instead of just age. But age is a big factor with Cornish X's. You may want to target 6lbs or 7lbs or even up to 10bs. You have to decide that. I processed at 12 weeks one time and the meat was still great. Though I like working with much smaller birds at processing.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  3. Organic Acres

    Organic Acres Out Of The Brooder

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    4
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    Sep 8, 2013
    thanks! I actually don't know what kind of broilers they are; I bought them from a hatchery on a whim, and I didn't ask what kind they are. I then put them under a broody hen that had just hatched two of her own eggs that same day. She accepted the broiler chicks as her own.

    I'll target 7 pounds as the max, or 12 weeks, whichever comes first. I think they are about 5 pounds at the moment.
     

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