Frustrated with dressed weights

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by anniemary, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. anniemary

    anniemary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my 3rd year doing FRs and I'm frustrated. We just processed our biggest birds at 16 weeks and I'm still only getting 3.5 lbs dressed weight.

    I move the tractor to fresh pasture every day and let them out of the tractor to free range on weekends. (They like to swarm when I come with food and get under my feet, so free ranging is not pleasant come dinner time).

    Maybe I'm not feeding them right?

    For 60-70 birds, I fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of Sprout Meat Maker from Fleet Farm. Then I top off the bucket with spent grains from our local brewery. I also fill another 5 gallon bucket full of spent grains. So, they are getting two 5 gallon buckets of food every night. I had to give up on the feeding troughs because they attacked me so badly I couldnt get the feeders. So, I after I move them to fresh pasture I pour the food throughout the pen.

    Any thoughts? I'm sure Im doing lots wrong. :-(

    I'm about ready to give up and go with the Cornish X. But we like the flavor of the FRs. I just can't seem to get enough meat on them, though.

    Thank you for any help.

    Annie
     
  2. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Here is my opionion . . . .


    Every bird must be able to get to the feed several times a day. THere are recommended number of inches of trough per bird to account for this.

    Review the protein content of the feed. GIven that they are supplementing intake with grass which is typically low in protein unless its clover or alfalfa or other legume, the feed needs to be HIGHER than if only feeding a crumble or pellet. Meaning, if you would feed pennned birds 22% crumble and then a 22% pellet and no other feed, you need to UP the protein to perhaps 27 to 30% protein to compensate for the grasses. Mind you, I am all for feeding them on grass, just up the protein to compensate.

    Do you know the protein of the sprout meat maker( SMM) ANd do know the protein level on the brewery grains(BG)?

    If the SMM is 22% and the BG is 20% and you feed the same number of pounds each , then the average is 21% protein. You really need to know the % protein for the BG as this is a big part of their diet. I cant remember the % protein of the BR off the top of my head, but I do think it is pretty high, more than the example I used above.

    WHen I received my buckeye chicks from the breeder I was instructed to feed 27% or HIGHER feed for 8 weeks. ANd this would be their only feed. Nothing adding by grazing. Perhaps being meat birds your FR also need a very high protein intake to reach the desired weights by that age.
     
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At 60-70 birds, you should be feeding roughly 4-6oz per bird - so that would be 15-26lbs a day - but those are the numbers for standard chickens - for meat birds, it's going to be higher than that - I don't know exactly how much. I've seen 5lbs a week bandied about, which would be about 12oz/day/bird which would be 45-52lbs/day.

    If I remember correctly, I could get right about 20-25lbs of brewing grain in a 5g bucket - so you might be around right on the volume, but I'm guessing the spent grains aren't getting the chickens everything they need.


    http://www.feedipedia.org/node/74

    Brewers grains are high protien, but feedipedia notes poor performance in poultry. I'd guess you need to feed them less spent grain, more grower feed.


    Arielle, per feedipedia, brewers grains are 20-30% protien, with 25.9% being average.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
    2 people like this.
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for looking this up. YOu point out an important note: that source (feedipedia) doesnt recommend for poultry. SO I completely agree with your recommendation to eliminate the brewers grains and increase the other feed. .

    I do know of a farm in VT that feeds the brewers grains to hogs with great results.
     
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just to clarify, the source found that feeding poultry predominately brewing grains led to poor performance - they'd probably be a great adjunct - the OP is feeding atleast 60% spent grains - and that's probably too much.
     
  6. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Why not try a few of both and see first hand which one your like best? [​IMG]
     

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