First-timer/Meatie questions

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by gotchooks?, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. gotchooks?

    gotchooks? In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    I have the opportunity to purchase some day old Cornish X Rock pullets. This will be my first time raising meat chickens. The number of chicks I get will depend on how large of an area will they need to grow out. I have to build a hutch/tractor type structure for them outside with an enclosed coop section to provide protection from the elements. I have heat lamps, etc. (Michigan)

    The person I'm getting the chicks from has processed them at 5 weeks up to 9 weeks. Why would you process at 5 weeks as opposed to 9? Should I put this off until spring? Does anyone else raise meaties this time of year?


  2. smith2

    smith2 Songster

    Jan 5, 2008
    Paris, TN
    I don't know anything about the MI climate, but I would think they would be okay if they were protected from the elements. Down here people raise chickens for meat all year round. I can't imagine why anyone would process at 5 weeks? Most do their meat birds around 8-10 weeks, and their dual purpose fowl at 14-18 weeks.
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I think this time of year in Michigan that a chicken tractor will not cut it. Even if you use lamps to keep them warm, I would expect their growth to be stunted since most their energy is going to keeping warm.

    8-9 weeks is typical for Cornish Crosses. A 5 week bird would be rather small and really a waste, since you get so much more chicken for only 3 more week's patience.
  4. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I just finished a batch.I will never try to raise this late in the year in my area.It was a pain.I use tractors and because of the rain I really couldn't move them.I used dry leaves as bedding and kept the tractor stationary for the last two weeks.It was so windy and cold I ended up covering 3 sides of the tractor.They are too stinky to keep inside a building.
    No more meaties for me after Sept.1 is my new rule.
    Unless you are really pumped up for this,Id wait til spring.I think you'll have a better first experience. good luck either way Will
  5. jaku

    jaku Songster

    I'm finishing a batch in Michigan this week. I wouldn't start them this late. I've had mine out in a tractor, but I rigged up a heat lamp in it, running 24/7. Plus, I started mid-September. I wouldn't butcher at week five- just seems wasteful to me, unless you like Cornish Game Hens. That puts you into January for processing. No thanks. Plus, going out into the snow and moving the tractor twice/day- and how would you even move it if there was much snow at all?? If you don't mind the huge pain in the butt, they'll probably be alright if you put a heat lamp in with them- it's been cold here for a month now, and I've only lost 3 out of 26, but it would be much easier to wait. To me, they're a lot more work than layers, and I wouldn't want to do it all winter. Wait til spring- I'll be getting my next batch early April. That way, there won't be snow, but they'll be butchered before it gets too hot.

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