Hatchery recommendations for both meat & layers?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by T-Amy, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We recently purchased our first batch of meat chicks from Meyer & eager to see if they're different from store-bought.

    Looking for advice & feedback on:

    1. Recommendations of hatcheries near upstate NY for both meat & laying birds

    and

    2. Do you notice that 'home-grown' meaties taste any different? Does the hatchery make a difference re: taste or any other important issues?

    P.S. The meaties we purchased were 'surplus broilers' so we're not sure if they're Cornish X birds or what they are.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Home raised makes a difference in taste. If you are doing it the way it is normally done, your home raised birds will have exercise and sunshine and eat some greens and bugs. They will live stress free and you will make their end as stress free as possible. That does affect the taste.
     
  3. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 16, 2011
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    Thanks- Not sure how much free-ranging they'll get given it's near winter here- but do you know if they need a transportable coop or will they 'come back' at roosting time? Given they're exposed to light 24* a day, I wasn't sure if tehy had a normal 'internal' roosting pattern like my laying chickens who, when I let them out to forage for a few hours, seem to KNOW to come back at dusk. I wasn't sure if meat chicks have the same 'internal' clock.

    Do you buy yours from a particular hatchery? Does that seem to matter?
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    You are going to keep them under lights?

    When I've got Cornish, they have a large safe fenced area that they are allowed out into during the day. Free range I would only do if I could stand right over the top of them the whole time. I've got lots of predators around my area. I deal with them by fencing them out of my birds' area.

    The low stress and the exercise are the most important. During winter, my birds get veggie scraps and fruit carried to them. There is not much growing around here. If your birds are raised in small cages and don't get exercise and sunshine and they are fed commercial food, then I would guess they would taste much like the commercial chickens since you would be raising them the same way.

    Most of us on this forum have at a minimum, chicken tractors so the birds can move around and enjoy life. Many of us have large secure runs, and some, like me, have very large secure pens plus secure night time housing.
     
  5. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Great points. I tried to give them yogurt one day (at 2 weeks old) & they wanted nothing to do with it. I think they need to be 'taught' to eat something other than their pellets. Can they eat the same 'treats' & goodies I give my laying hens? So just to confirm, they shouldn't free-range in the grass like my hens except for when they're in a movable or confined tractor?
     
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    They are fine to free range if your area is safe for them. My area is not, so none of my birds free range.

    Yes, if your laying hens can eat it, the Cornish Cross can eat it. They are chickens, too.

    They should eat yogurt if you mix a little bit into their feed. Be sure to start them on grit before you give anything but mash or starter.
     
  7. Tumbleweed Farm

    Tumbleweed Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :)My experience with cornish cross that they prefer not to free range nor did they show any interest in treats, greens, etc. they lived to sit by the feeder and just eat. they would not stand usually, just sit LOL-- but they are good--going to do some more in the Spring. Good luck with your birds!
     
  8. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We got 15 cornish x from mcMurray's hatchery and had great luck with them. They were very healthy and we only had one bird who ended up with splayed legs and we think that's because he fell out of the pen and hurt one of his legs. Our experience is that they don't particularly like to range around much. We put them in the yard every day and sometimes one or the other of them would venture around and eat scratch or explore one of the other birds but for the most part they huddled together in the corner beside the hay bale and slept in the sun. One advantage to letting them in the yard is that is cuts down on the amount of poop to deal with in their pen as they are poop machines. At 9 weeks we processed two birds that dressed out at over 7 1/2 lbs.
     
  9. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Interesting- But if I want them to taste better but I've never purchased an 'organic' chicken before so couldn't really compare it anyway [​IMG]
    Mine are crazy eaters! We were told to feed them 12* on & 12* off & they about take my arm off when I give them their breakfast!
     
  10. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I may try Murray's next just to compare- we got these from Meyer but out of 26, 6 of them died or were DOA when we got them. I wasn't excited about that ratio but Meyer did refund us... but still.

    7.5#! That's great!
     

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