Dumb question here...

mechanicswife

Hatching
11 Years
Mar 17, 2008
4
0
7
Do I have to separate my meat chicks from the layers?
We ordered the MMH special meat and egg combo and I was just wondering if we had to put them in different brooders.
 

greyfields

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 15, 2007
4,889
27
261
Washington State
They should get a broiler/starter finisher, so that's one good reason to separate them. The second is they'll grow about 2x as fast as your hens and trampling can occur.
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
974
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
You don't have to but often it is recommended. You can start them together and if you find that the meat birds are making a mess out of your layers, then you can separate them. I've done it both ways, and they both worked out for me. It was easier when they were together because then it was one feeder, one coop, and one big mess to clean every week.
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
104
371
Forks, Virginia
The meat birds will grow almost before your eyes. You won't believe how fast they will grow. I raised jumbo cornish x last fall and I have to tell you that these birds begin to stink. They eat non-stop. They will eat until they die. I am not exaggerating. You will be doing yourself and your other chicks a huge favor if you separate them out ASAP. The meat birds eat and poop. Lay around and eat and poop. Everything turns into a block of poop and has to be shoveled out at least once a week. They eat and drink and poop so much the ammonia builds up quickly and can literally rot the feathers off their bellies.

I am not trying to scare you. I am trying to give a realistic picture of what to expect.

You will want to ration the food to the meat chicks. Letting them eat all they want in the day and taking away the feed at night and only giving them water. Your other chicks will be better served to have food available at all times.

It is your call but having been there I would strongly urge you to raise them separately.
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
104
371
Forks, Virginia
You can raise them, Cheryl. You just need to be prepared for them. They need a coop that can be cleaned and may need to be cleaned daily. They do come with a smell all their own. They don't smell like regular chicks. They are genetically programed to eat and eat they do. 27 birds were eating at least 25lbs a day toward the end. What goes in must come out. That means poop. In warm weather you really have to stay on top of it.

I'll also tell you this - the chickens we raised are the best tasting chickens I have had in many many years.
 

mechanicswife

Hatching
11 Years
Mar 17, 2008
4
0
7
Why, thank ya' Missprissy! That was good information. Do you have any advice at what age I could put them in a "tractor" by themselves? Or should I put the layers in a tractor? They are all two weeks old right now and in the same house. I let them out today to clean the house and they loved it but it is still a bit chilly at times here in the SE USA.
 

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
4,730
201
294
Loxahatchee, Florida
I ordered the "All Heavies" special assortment from McMurray, 25 heavy breed roos that I raised for meat. Several different breeds of their choice, RIR, White Leghorns, Delawares, Barred Rocks, etc. They matured slower than those hybrids, but also ate & pooped much less than what you're describing. I also like it that I don't have to butcher them all at once, been doing 2-6 a week, since about 17 weeks old.

I raised them in a tractor because I didn't want them getting too tough by running around, and I didn't want them getting into fights with the Lords of the Layer Pens. I would order this assortment again and especially so after reading about the mess & feed bills the hybrids cause.

We've also been butchering the occasional mixed-breed roos that result from a broody hen's hatching. They also do not require special care or extra food. Right now we have an enormous young cockerel we call Moby Chick. I'm looking forward to inviting him to dinner in a few months...
 

chickenannie

Songster
12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
3,152
35
231
Pennsylvania
Although I was sad to have my BO roos butchered at 5.5 months, and they had skinny little breast meat, the legs and rest of the chicken had plenty of tender meat and the flavor was terrific! I'm not feeling the need to raise the weird meat hybrids after this tasty experience. I'll just do the same...
 

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