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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by traildad, Sep 15, 2011.
Quote:One thing you may want to consider in doing this is that young chicks are very suseptable to adult chicken diseases. These diseases can be can be transmitted thru dander, so having a brooder in the same coop as adults can be a problem. Your adult chickens may be immune or not showing signs of disease, but they can still be carriers.
Just a thought.
I'm not sure you'll find a hatchery that will have BO's that will be good for a meat bird. I started out with hatchery birds. Eight different "dual" purpose breeds. BO's being one of them. I didn't find any of them to be good in the meat department. Most hatchery sell in quantity with little regard to quality. Finding a private breeder who can sex chicks would be hard. Don't believe everything you read in the books like I did. Many breeds are still in the re- creation stage. Trying to re invent them into the "dual" purpose birds they once were. I'm still not sure they were ever like the "meat" birds we've become accustomed to.
This past year I was treated to Barred Rocks as meat at the ALBC conference but I don't know who these birds belong to nor whether they are good in the laying department. They didn't however have the meat on them like what we get in the Cornish Rocks. They were good for sure and I would have no problem raising them for meat.
As for a brooder in the coop, you may want to have a separate transitional coop just for raising chicks.
I wish you the best and am sure you will have no regrets with whatever your chicken experience is.
Certainly you don't need all that space for young birds. You may want to look into the tractor systems used for meat birds. You move them each day for fresh grazing, or just let em free range. A separate coop is what your going to have to do. Young birds don't mix with adults until they are near same size to hold up to pecking order. When raising birds for meat your coop doesn't need all that space. Keep in mind they wont be wintered and in reality only need enough roosting space in protected area to sleep. Then provide a covered area for the rainy and extremely hot days which can be as simple as a tarp.
Buying straight run chicks or hatching eggs is far cheaper than buying sexed chicks. Cockerels grow far faster than pullets and most wont start crowing until a good tender butchering age. Traditional broilers are 7 to 12 weeks of age and about 2 pounds. Below is a link to ages to cooking type of heritage birds.
My coop is about 24" off the ground. I used the space underneath for adult to hide during summer, cold, and rainy day. I am currently turn that space temporary into the brooder for 11 chicks. The chicks seems doing just fine in the dirt with broody hens in the last 6 days. I am plan to let them out the brooder space to the main run in 4-6 weeks. Here is a photo that give you some idea of space. It is not large(~ 30"x70"), but big enough for the brooder.