Feeding Meaties Layer Food?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bantiebabe1200, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. bantiebabe1200

    bantiebabe1200 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    Ennis, Montana
    I have a question about meat chickens and the standard meatbird feed. Would you still get very good results on a regular feed too? I know it would most likely take quite a bit longer to be able to butcher them, but I've raised these birds for 4-H in my youth and didn't like the results of the legs problems they would get before or shortly after they were old enough to butcher in most cases. I don't know if that has to do with hormones in the feed or if that is soley a meatbird trait. I just can't stand to see anything suffering and I want to do what I can to avoid this. What would be a good way to avoid this problem?
  2. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2010
    I just use the chick starter / grower crumbles at 20% protein. After 2 weeks, give them feed 12 hours on / 12 off to restrict their intake. Also set the feed and water where they have to waddle to it instead of just laying there eating themselves to death. At about 3 - 4 weeks I put them in a run and let them forage for a few hours and then feed them only morning , noon, evening, rather than a constant supply all day.
  3. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2009
    I believe the general recommendation is to feed continuously for the first 5 days. Then restrict feed - 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
    The legs problems are inherent in todays meaties, cornish cross. It may help to give vitamins.
    You may want to try a slower growing meat bird. There are a few out there to try. Look around and see what other's experiences have been. I will not order another cornish cross ever ever ever. Just my experience. Completely happy with dual purpose breeds.
    I would NOT recommend layer feed for meaties, due to the added calcium in the feed.
    Good luck [​IMG]
  4. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    What are you trying to achieve with your meat birds? I have started my meat birds on chick starter for the first 2 weeks, and then change them over to all purpose feed for the remaining weeks. CornishX have the leg problems from being genetically altered to grow as fast as possible and producing the largest amount breast meat. It really has little to do with the type of feed you use. I agree with the others that other slower growing meat birds would be a better option, if the only concern is to ease the rapid growing pains. I do admit that I don't like CornishX's very much. They just don't seem to have very many normal chicken traits. They also seem to be rather stupid besides. Cx's were bred for the commercial meat industry, in order to reduce the cost of producing the final product. The industry doesn't seem to care about the suffering of the animal in relationship to the final profit. There are other options for the caring person that can afford to put the welfare of the animals ahead of the cost of the meat.
  5. bantiebabe1200

    bantiebabe1200 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    Ennis, Montana
    I'll definitly try these tips. I think it sounds like a good idea to try the slower growing birds as well. I don't mind a little longer wait for the meat. Thanks Lorije1, turtlebird and justbugged for great advice on a proper feeding program. [​IMG] The sounds of multi purpose birds seems like a good choice too. Thanks also for helping me to understand the genetics of the birds a little better too. That sure helps in a big way!

    Thanks for the help, I feel good about my choices for my meat birds in the future. [​IMG]
  6. HaikuHeritageFarm

    HaikuHeritageFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2010
    Anchorage, AK
    I prefer to feed my layers grower food, actually. I like more protein than the average layer blend.
  7. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I feed mine flock raiser (20%) from start to finish, they reach proper weight at 8-9 weeks
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I free ranged, fed chick starter at first and then put them on layer feed for the duration, even threw some cracked corn in there at the end. I only fed once a day, in the evening. I had 20 healthy chicks and ended up with 20 healthy birds....no missing feathers, no leg problems, normal weight gain.
  9. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    Quote:I fed mine regular 18% grower at one point of their developement , and at 5 months they went to layer mash but its boosted to over 20% as I think its better for fertility . I don't believe you could find chicken feed with hormones added even if you wanted to . As far as " leg problems " , I'm not sure many claiming their CX are having leg problems are really experiencing that [ though its possible ] ; mine were suffering from ascites when they quit standing . Here's a site with pictures [ third down ] where leg problems are the problem and I warn its a bit graffic . When I added free choice limestone for the pullets , it was the CX cockerals that ate more of it at first ; I can only guess they needed it for bone development .

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