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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by RickyChickyTavi, Apr 7, 2016.
For some reason it won't let me post, so I'll try as a reply. See Below.
With slow growing broilers, should I do a 12 hour feed, 12 hour off type of thing like you'd do with Cornish X?
I'm trying to make sure I'm feeding my chicks properly. I've lost two, one to wry neck...the other just keeled over out of the blue.
So far I've given pro-biotics, sand, and they're on Dumor chick starter / grower.
Everyone else is doing good, and I do notice an appreciable size difference between my Delawares that were hatched the same day....I also didn't know little chicks could get some lift when they try to fly!
Broilers have been genetically bred so that the part of their brain that tells them they are full is turned off. They will act as though they are starving, but in fact they are quite full.
I have raised close to a thousand broilers in 50 chick batches over the years. My strategy has always been fresh water from day 1. No electrolytes, no quick chick, just plenty of fresh water. I have a 12 lb feeder and they get 18% chick starter from day one till day done.
From day one the chicks get 2 lbs of feed until they can eat all that in a day. Then i bump up in increments of 2 lbs. I stop at 18 lbs of feed a day, that is the limit (they usually start eating 18 lbs at about week 5). After they clean the 12 lb feeder they get 6 more lbs of feed for a total of 18 lbs. I feed at 9 am and the feed is gone by 2 pm. My birds drink 6-9 gallons of water a day.
The use of one feeder allows 10-15 birds to eat at one time. Those birds leave to get a drink and the next birds step up and so on. The birds just get back in line to eat again or go take a rest under their tarp lean to in the shade.
I rarely have chickens die, they all reach 6-7 lbs live weight in 8-9 weeks, no leg problems, and my feed costs remain reasonable. This strategy has worked for me for 10 years.
If i wanted to raise my birds like the poultry industrial farms i would have to accept 20% losses as a norm. Loosing 10 birds from a 50 bird batch is not acceptable to me.
Raise your animals with respect and they will nourish you with the same.
Just my thoughts on the subject
If they are still small I wouldn't limit feed at all I'd say free choice up to at least 3 weeks of age after that it's up to you. I raised rainbows and rangers last year let much free choice the whole time unless they ran out of feed in the middle of the day then I'd fill it again after work. They do eat a rather large amount of feed buy mine would actually leave the feeder when they fit their fill and go free range
The key is to keep their skeleton growth symetrical to their muscle growth. Too small a skeleton early on and their excess muscle will cause leg problems the bigger they get.
Loosing a bird to me is the equivalent of flushing money down the toilet. The chick cost me money and so did the feed and water. I do everything in my power to ensure they make it the end.
High protein feed does grow big birds, but at a cost i'm not willing to accept. I am looking for consistent weekly growth of 3/4 to 1 lb over the entire 8 weeks. Anything more and i started seeing losses, anything less and they never seemed to reach weight.
Over the years i have tried going cheap on the feed with poor results. I have tried pushing the birds with 24/7 feed and saw big losses. I tried the probiotics and electrolytes in the water with mixed results. What finally worked for me was my current strategy. I consistently raise all the birds to butcher day. I learned by trial and error. There wasn't youtube or internet when i was starting out.
The slow broilers by nature shouldn't be as prime to the health problems, they don't grow as fast or eat as much