considering meat chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Crickett, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thinking about getting some meaties shipped in, and I'm trying to gather info,. Is this a good time of year, or should I wait? I live in Northwest Alabama. Also does anyone have any advice /experience with shipped chicks, meaties in particular? I've only bought pol birds, or chicks from TSC, or I've hatched out some from my own hens. I've not bought shipped chicks before. What's the best place to buy from? Also I don't know that I want a bunch, can I just order 6-10? And if I decide to keep them past 16 weeks, would they have a problem in adulthood? Would they breed true? Or at all? I've heard of leg trouble, but my girls are only fed once a day. Would that be okay? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. ktn65

    ktn65 Out Of The Brooder

    Hi Crickett

    I am relatively new to chickens, but I have raised a batch of meaties this year, and am now raising my second batch. What types of birds are you considering and are you going to free range.

    I raised Cornish X Rocks (CX) and they did not free range very well. Some people here seem to be having success doing it, but I did not. If you keep them on feed, they finish out and are ready for processing at 8 weeks. At eight weeks, one of my first batch just up and died. I have heard if you let them eat all they want, they have a short life expectancy. My birds dressed out at about 6-7 lbs and are really good eating.

    Both of my batches were ordered via the mail and I had no issues but the hatchery I get them from is close.

    As for the right time, the processor I use does not do any processing after thanksgiving, so for me, I cannot start a batch after mid-September.

    Since these birds are hybrid, they will not breed true.

    There are other types of birds raised for meat, but I have no experience with them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  3. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was considering the Cornish cross. No they will not be pastured, as we live next to the road and don't have a lot of land. Eight weeks sounds good. Did you have a minimum amount you had to buy? As for processing, I'll do that myself, so it's not a problem.
     
  4. ktn65

    ktn65 Out Of The Brooder

    I ordered mine with another fellow who orders 100+ at a time, so I did not really have a minimum.

    I think a lot of the places I see online have a minimum of 15 or 25.
     
  5. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    I am fairly new to meaties, but I have raised both Cornish X and Freedom Rangers. Benefits of the Cornish X are rapid growth and docile nature. Downsides are leg problems and flip (heart attacks after 6 weeks). Benefits of the Freedom Rangers are the lack of health issues associated with the Cornish X, they are easily ranged, and have more flavor due to longer life span. Down side is the cockerels will be crowing long before harvest, and they take a month longer to mature.

    If there is any chance you will keep them past butchering age you should try the Rangers, or the hatchery equivalent. They at least can have a normal chicken life unlike the Cornish X. If you go with the Cornish X you will want to get extra chicks in case you lose any along the way. I think fall is a great time to raise meaties. It is warm out so the chicks can get the boot out of the brooder sooner, they will be feathered out before it cools off, and they won't be stressed by the heat when they near butchering age.

    Depending on which hatchery you order from you could try an order of both kinds and see which you prefer. I have an order of Freedom Rangers coming this week.

    You may want to check out the Meat Bird forum. Lots of interesting posts there. Some people have taken a scientific approach and weighed their birds weekly and have charted growth, and have compared meat strains. However if you want the maximum amount of meat in the shortest time using the minimum amount of feed the Cornish X can't be beat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  6. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I'll have to see which hatchery has the best price / selection.
     
  7. WilkinsFarm

    WilkinsFarm New Egg

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    My husband and I are new to the chicken business. We ordered 250 they hatched today and shipped to us and should be here by Friday! We are getting Rhode Island Reds. We are raising them as free ranged chickens as well. Good luck on your journey!
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    WOW! 250 birds as newbies? All the best, that's a huge starting number. I prefer the Freedom Rangers, for all the above reasons.. Cornishx birds are pathetic little guys who don't move around much and have no future; best processed at eight week of age or so. Fall might be a good time for you in Alabama, especially for the Cornishx birds. They don't handle hot weather well at all. Mary
     
  9. ktn65

    ktn65 Out Of The Brooder

    I agree with keesmom, but I may try some Rangers next year.
     
  10. WilkinsFarm

    WilkinsFarm New Egg

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    Well my husband isn't such a newbie lol we have our Papa here that has raised chickens before so we have good advice and has someone here to help us if need be. And we have all you fine people to get help from as well :)
     

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