Flock numbers to meet family's needs?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Shoshana, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. Shoshana

    Shoshana Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2009
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    Hi all! We're in the process of buying acreage and plan to keep meat chickens. I was wondering how many chickens everyone who uses a flock to meet their families' chicken needs keep, and whether you keep breeding stock for a number of years and raise the offspring to consume, or whether you rotate breeding stock every few generations? Thanks!
     
  2. Princess Amri

    Princess Amri Is Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 16, 2009
    best coast
    To figure this out:
    1. what country do you live in?
    2. are the chickens for you family or to sell?
    3. how much chicken does your family eat?

    We should be able to help you when we have that info.
     
  3. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are using Dark Cornish and are just starting. We will be butchering the smallest of the lot and keeping about 10 to 15 hens and 3 of the best roosters with the intent of starting our meat bird program in the Spring. We plan to raise two or three batches of 50 per season.

    Each year we will keep the best of the best alive for future parent stock.
     
  4. Shoshana

    Shoshana Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2009
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    Quote:OKay... USA, to eat, and about three times a week... if we had them, we'd probably eat eggs five times weekly. There are five of us, so I've always bought birds at least 6 lbs, but like bigger for leftovers for lunch, soup, etc. Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  5. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want a 6+ pound dressed chicken, and you want it at a decently young age, then I think you can forget about the breeding issue. It's pretty much irrelevant because I don't think there is a heritage breed that can get that big in a short time. So, depending on how important size is to you, you may have to ship chicks in from a hatchery each time. Either Cornish X, Freedom Rangers, or one of the other hybrid meat birds.

    If the ability to breed, hatch, and raise your own birds from egg is more important to you, then you may have to compromise on the size issue.
     
  6. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Carolina Sandhills
    I've been crunching numbers in hope of convincing my town to allow chickens.

    Our family of 6 goes through anywhere from 2-4 dozen eggs per week depending on the menu and the demand cycle for hard-boiled eggs. Used dual-purpose breed numbers that means we'd have to have at least 6 layers and could probably handle up to 12 some weeks. My mother could probably absorb a dozen every 2 weeks with more for holiday baking. Surplus could be given to neighbors, donated at church, or possibly sold to the feed store.

    We currently eat anywhere from 2 to 4 chickens -- 3-4lb grocery store birds -- per week but prefer larger roasters, which would reduce the number required to 2. We don't eat as much chicken in November and December when turkey overload reduces our interest in poultry. So multiply that by the number of weeks in the year and we'd need anywhere from 100 to 400 birds depending on what size we raised them to. I don't know if my mother would accept home-raised chickens (she thinks of chickens as rats with feathers and considers me crazy for even considering the possibility of raising them).

    Your numbers of eggs and chickens consumed per week would vary. And I expect that mine would too if I had the eggs and chickens readily available instead of waiting for them to be on sale.
     
  7. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    3killerBs,
    I bet once your mom tastes one of your birds she will change her tune. My MIL thought I was a bit nuts for raising birds the first time, but once she tasted my bird she was in line at the next butchering.
     
  8. Shoshana

    Shoshana Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2009
    Southern VA
    Thanks for the advice everyone! Size isn't so important to me as how the chickens are raised, etc. I've seen a lot of folks recommending starting with 25 chickens (apprently they're sold at a discount at that number?). Is this too much for a newbie to bite off?

    Also, can anyone address the question of whether you keep your breeders and roo, or whether you pick new breeders and roo from each batch of chicks? Thx!
     
  9. Justin

    Justin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Shoshana,



    Most hatcheries prefer to ship 25 as a minimum...(for the chicks warmth during shipping). As far as breeding, practically speaking, you aren't going to be able to breed meaties like you can order from a hatchery. Others may have more experience with this, but I have had the best luck with ordering mine.

    25 meat birds isn't too much to bite off. Once the infastructure is in place to raise them, I personally won't raise less than 50 at a time, but it all depends on your situation. You'll likely need help processing that many, but it is a fun day!!

    Good luck and let us know how it all goes!
     
  10. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well, I hope so.

    I hope more that I'll be allowed to get them.
     

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