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First Time Raising Meat Birds Advice

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MVFoodForest, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. MVFoodForest

    MVFoodForest New Egg

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    Jan 29, 2012
    Hi there ,
    we plan on purchasing some cornish cross chicks in the next couple months . This will be our first time raising meat birds . Now I've heard cornish x often have leg issues , what can I do to avoid this if possible ?

    We plan to feed organic non-medicated feed (please don't ask why) , a friend warned me that by not feeding medicated feed I should expect a 50% loss . I suspect that is a bit of a exaggeration , I know I should expect some loss but 50% ? With good care and sanitary conditions should I be okay ? What % should I expect to loose ?

    Any advice on raising cornish x would be appreciated .
     
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    They do sometimes have leg issues. We use vitamins in our water to try and help with this issue. Out of a batch of 100, we usually have two or three that have leg problems. Sometimes they get better if we separate them into a smaller enclosure as soon as we notice it, and sometimes they don't. We never feed medicated feed. Ours do get the Coccidiosis spray before they leave the hatchery though. We didn't have ours sprayed when we first started doing cornish, but then had a batch where we lost several to Coccidiosis and decided the spray was worth it. Even in that batch though, we only lost about 15% and not all of that loss was due to Cocci. Our current loss rate is about 5-7%.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  3. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you keep their area clean and they have plenty of space and lots of fresh water, you shouldn't lose any to disease and if you do it isn't going to be 50%. Where did your friend come up with this number??... I use an all natural feed with probiotics added to it to boost their immune system, (un-medicated) and I lost one bird to leg problems this batch(out of 50) and my birds are all thriving and doing well outside in a coop and run, at 7 wks... I lost 5 out of 35 my last batch and those were all due to (flip)... It really annoys me when people insist that you will lose a bunch of birds if you don't use medicated feed (hogwash)... I really do think that you have to use a good quality feed though, if you aren't going to use medicated.. JMO :)
     
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If one looses 50% of ANY crop ... I would seriously question that person's animal husbandry practices ... as in LACK OF !!! [​IMG]
     
  5. MVFoodForest

    MVFoodForest New Egg

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    Jan 29, 2012
    Thank you, I thought that was extremely high. I've never seen how she raised her birds .

    Now I've been trying to calculate my approximate cost from raising the birds . I'm excluding any initial equipment costs (brooder,feeders,waterers ...) as they will be used repeatedly . I will be getting the bird slaughtered for us at least for the first few batches than we will start to do our own.

    Price per chick $1
    Cost of Slaughter $2
    Food , now I was reading from start to finish I can expect the birds to go through 20lbs of food each . So with 50 chickens that would work out to a 1000lbs . I currently have to by my oraganic food in 44lb bags so would go through 23 bags of feed at $17 each would work out to be $391

    So with food , chick and slaugher I can expect to pay $541 working out to be a little under $11 a bird.
    Which is on par with what you pay at the grocery store for a whole chicken average 3.5lb but thats not organic free range you can expect to pay over $8lb in store for that.

    Am I forgetting anything ? Other than maybe supplements .
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  6. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    You might want to figure in the cost of bedding while they are in the brooder. Ours need fresh bedding every day due to the amount of poop they produce. That can add up much faster than most people consider.
     
  7. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    The food amount depends on how old they are when you process, and how well the food converts. From reading, it seems some food blends might not convert to meat as well as others, but it's not a big difference usually.

    I don't feed medicated, just the local mill blend of 21% grower from beginning to end. I failed to keep track of how much feed this batch did, but I started processing at 7 weeks and ended at 8 1/2 weeks, for carcass weights of about 5-6lbs. Rough estimate was about 15lbs per bird. Next batch I'll keep better track :)

    I second the bedding. I kept mine in an enclosed coop of about 8x10, and went through at least 10 bags of shavings to keep them clean and dry. All of the soiled bedding was taken out to the garden when it was all over, so it was worth it to me - bedding and rich fertilizer.

    I use that Sav A Chik water supplement the first couple gallons, and that's it. I think I lost 3 out of 42 over the time I raised the last batch, one shortly after I received the shipment, and the other two later toward the end, possibly from congestive heart failure. Two I processed had "leg issues" (the "hocks" were swollen and stiff") and I processed one that was in the stages of congestive heart failure that did have ascites. The rest were complete normal. I sold almost all of them, and all the folks who purchased have commented on how happy they are :)

    It's fun!
     
  8. MVFoodForest

    MVFoodForest New Egg

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    Thank you , duhh how did I forget bedding . Bedding at my usual feed store is $9 for 12 cubic ft , I'll have to see if I can find them any cheaper .
     
  9. taradrew

    taradrew New Egg

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    I raised my first batch of 50 meat birds last spring/summer. I got them at .95/bird, used 1 bag of chick starter @$7.03, then 14 bags (50lb) of broiler crumble @ $13.53/bag. I used 7 bales of shavings and raised my roosters until 7 weeks and the hens until 8 weeks.

    50 birds=$47.50
    1 bag chick starter=$7.03
    14 (50lb) bags broiler crumble$13.53=$189.42
    7 bales shavings$5.25=$36.75

    TOTAL=$280.70

    Out of the 50 chicks 5 died from flip over. I was able to still use the meat (hopefully that's ok) if I actually saw them die. In the end I had 214.39 lbs. of chicken (bone in). If my math is right that's only $1.31/lb!

    My suggestion is to with hold food after dark so they arent eating continuously. This year we will do that and we also plan to raise the birds in moveable hoop coops to avoid the cost of the shavings. Good luck! The best way to cook them is also at about 300 for 2+hrs or in a rotisserie. This makes them very moist and delicious! I hope this helps!
     
  10. SowdersHomestead

    SowdersHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as shavings go I plan on using shredded leaves for my first batch this year to see if that can replace shavings. If so, thats just extra money in the pocket.
     

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