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Free-range meat chickens in fenced city yard?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by manyhens, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. manyhens

    manyhens New Egg

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    We have a small laying flock that free ranges the backyard during the day (has a privacy fence) and is cooped at night. If we had a separate coop, could we similarly raise Cornish rocks for 8 weeks until slaughter? I realized meat birds don't walk around a lot. What I am more wondering is if the birds can be loose in the backyard as the laying hens are and then go into their coop at dusk the way the laying hens do.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They will behave just like chickens if they are bonded to a place to sleep.
    The issue I have with free range meat birds is that they're more vulnerable to daytime predators - hawks, dogs, etc..
     
  3. phalenbeck

    phalenbeck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They eat more, poop more, drink more, climb ramps poorly, and have few survival skills. Yard should have shade, shelter more clearly available than layers. I do raise mine in the yard, and some batches forrage better, and fun around pretty well. The batch I had under a broody did very well acting like chickens. Yard raised free range is the only way I will go now for product quality. The hide from danger seems to totally not occur to them.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    [​IMG]

    The above poster makes a good point about the ramps. Most folks use a tractor type pen to raise their meaties as they're not too fond of roosting anyway. And size aside, most of my layer chicks don't start roosting until around 7-9 weeks, so most meaties are just fine spending their lives on the ground.

    I'd suggest starting with half a dozen or so, to see how things go for your particular set-up. Plus, processing six birds can easily be done in an afternoon, and most freezers can easily fit six chickens. You get into batches of 25 or more and freezer space becomes a real issue.
     
  5. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know how large your yard is but larger batches, say 25 or even 20 or more, can generate quite a stench as well, you say you are in the city, I don't know how close your neighbors are. They will wander around a bit but whatever shelter area they have where they sleep and likely eat their feed will get very crapped up, meat birds are quite a bit dirtier than layers in that respect. With only 8 you should be fine
     
  6. eleaserek

    eleaserek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too live in the city and am trying my hand at backyard meaties! I've got 10 that are 2 weeks old, and will be booted outside very soon! My basement smells like a barn! It sounds like what you've got in mind is what I'm doing as well. I've got 5 layers that mostly stay in their large run, but get let out into the yard when the weather is nice. I've built a little coop and run for the meaties right next door to my layers, and plan on letting them out into the yard too.

    Honestly so far the raising of them has been very smooth. I am however, shocked at the criticism that I've received from family, friends and coworkers! No one can understand why or how I'm going to kill my own chickens when I can just go to the grocery store... :confused:
     
  7. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    people like that are ignorant, ignore them. They will be the ones starving if there is ever a bad enough disaster that one can not just go to the grocery store.
     
  8. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lol ignorant might be a bit much... same as hunters calling non-hunters ignorant... or bow hunters calling gun hunters ignorant....

    They just need to be encouraged kindly to take as few steps of their own in backyard farming. They might not be full blown homesteaders, but get them growing their own tomato or carrots or lettuce. Or maybe they are builders! In a survival situation, everyone has some useful skill!
     
  9. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No they are ignorant, anyone who is going to criticize someone for raising their own food has a mindset that raising animals is stupid because it's so much easier to go to the store. I wonder what they would do if all the farmers also decided they would just go to the store
     
  10. eleaserek

    eleaserek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well and the sad thing is, one of the people giving me the hardest time, has her own flock of layers. If anything, they just can't wrap their minds around the killing. I've tried to explain to them that at least by doing it myself it will be done as humanely as I can, and that they will have lived happy little lives and so on, but to them it's like killing a pet I think. They can't separate food from friends.
     

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