Growout meat boys and pecking

birdiefu

In the Brooder
Aug 12, 2019
4
1
11
I'm trying to deal with issues of my growout males (destined for meat) and trying to keep the peace long enough to grow them to at least 10 weeks. They aren't housed near any females in the hopes they would be less territorial, but I still have issues with boys being "boys" and head wounds. I've already culled one at about 7 1/2 weeks as I already had another in a hospital cage from getting a bloody head, and really don't want to go down the road of separating many of them just to grow out to butcher.

I aim to minimize the time/labor intensity of the meat guys. Right now they are at about 3/sq ft on deep litter, I am torn between the theories of going with a lot of space vs keeping close together to minimize aggression. Any tips on keeping rooster growout pens as peaceful as possible till butcher day or should I just cull them around 7 weeks and call it a day?

ETA: Has anyone tried keeping males at low light levels once feather sexable to keep them from getting hormonal to grow out longer? If so, I would love to hear first-hand experience if it works!
 

birdiefu

In the Brooder
Aug 12, 2019
4
1
11
What breed are they? How big is the area you are keeping them in? How many do you have in the area?
They are coturnix. The boys are in a 3' x 1.7' area (total of ~5 sq ft) on deep litter. I had 14 there till 7 weeks (av weight at that point 237g), right now after moving boys I saved for breeding, one cull and one in isolation from being pecked, I currently have 10 boys in this area coming up on 8 weeks tomorrow.
 

Nabiki

Crowing
May 15, 2019
1,422
8,188
376
Sonoma County, CA
That sounds really overcrowded. They're going to peck and fight more if they're overcrowded. I managed to keep four boys until they were about 8 weeks old in a space that was about 2' x 6' before they started fighting.
 

CoturnixComplex

Crowing
Nov 16, 2018
1,749
9,831
471
10 weeks is real real ambitious. You're going to have to have bachelor pads to separate out all meanies or just process them early.

I agree that they are at least twice the density they need to be. You need more space or fewer birds.
 

birdiefu

In the Brooder
Aug 12, 2019
4
1
11
Thanks guys! I had heard from some meat breeders that growing hatchmate boys separate from girls, a higher density can be kept. I will probably just go ahead and butcher all the boys earlier to reduce the hassle and torment for every creature involved, though I might see if reduced light hours make any difference with my next batch.

How do most here who primarily aim for meat deal with their guys?
 
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