feed restriction for pet broilers?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by raroo, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. raroo

    raroo Songster

    Nov 5, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm trying to figure out the best way to restrict feed for my two broiler chicks. (They were given to me by a friend and I don't intend to eat them)

    They are two and a half weeks old, and I free fed them for the first week, and have been taking their food away at night for the second week. I'm unsure of how much to restrict their feed so they don't over-eat.

    Within the past couple days their crops have become huge, and are always hard and full, (but empty in the mornings) and they still go to the feeder even when their crops are bulging, so I think it might be time to restrict their feed a bit more.

    Is it okay to feed them in the morning until their crops are full, offer them veggies and crickets throughout the day, feed them again in the evening until their crops are full, and then continue to take their food away at night?

    They are being fed 20% starter crumbles with added multi vitamin.

    Thanks for any input. [​IMG]
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Did you chicks come from a commercial broiler operation?
    In the old time commercial broiler houses the chicks were fed what was called a "hot feed". Super high protein. Nowadays they are still fed the hot feed, but the chicks are injected with a steroid both before and after hatch for even more rapid growth.
    I can tell you what my SO's mom did 20 years ago when she would divert chicks hatched at Tyson's hatcheries to her backyard (to use as layers).
    Don't restrict their feed. Allow them access to feed 24/7 just as you would any other chick. Just make sure you are feeding them regular chick starter with no more than 18 - 20 % protein. You see it's the hot feed that's fed in the commercial operations that's responsible for the rapid growth, along with the steroid injections. If the chicks you received have had the steroid injection they may not do as well as those chicks from 20 yrs. ago, but they can be still do well and can live for 2 to 3 years.
    What makes the commercial broilers so vulnerable to easy death is the feed and the steroids causes their bodies to outgrow their internal organs. Activity around the commercial houses is kept to a minimum to keep the chickens from dying from heart attacks. Their poor little hearts just can't sustain their over-sized bodies.
    Good luck. If you have any more questions, feel free to PM and I'll get my SO to answer you.
    P.S. We just got back from a friend's house where he has about 10 cornish Xs diverted as chicks from a commercial house. All are big strong healthy birds.
  3. raroo

    raroo Songster

    Nov 5, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks gritsar [​IMG]

    They did come from a commercial broiler farm. I was given a two week supply of chick feed from them too. I recall being told that the protein was either 23 or 25%. I have since bought them regular chick feed that has 20% protein. It looks and smells quite different from the commercial feed, and the chicks' poos have changed a lot too. Bigger and more solid, and their cecal poos are less smelly too, lol. It sure seems healthier than the commercial feed.
    I was offered a continuous supply of the commercial feed but I but I told my friend that I would just buy my own, and now I am especially glad that I did!
    I'm not sure if they've been injected with steroids, but I intend to find out!
    I think I will try your advice and keep an eye on them. I read somewhere on here that their food consumption tapers off as they reach maturity?
    Well, what you've told me gives me hope! I've been so worried about about my big sweet chicks, they really are wonderful and I love my big cuddly babies. [​IMG]
    Thanks again [​IMG]

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