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Heatwave coming -- I'm going to process my remaining 9.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Denninmi, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    They are forecasting low 90s from today through Tuesday, then mid 90s through next weekend. Even outdoors in the shade, when its only in the low 80s, they sit and pant.

    I've decided to go ahead and process them this weekend. Otherwise, I may lose some of them to the heat when I'm at work next week, and they'll be ruined.

    I'm anxious to see how much gain they have made in a week. Last week averaged 2.74 lbs each as put into the freezer.

    I'll post when I'm done. Probably won't happen until tomorrow morning, I have relatives coming today (oh, joy!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  2. tball

    tball Chirping

    May 17, 2011
    we are high 90's to over 100 in texas! my run is under trees but still get up to 98 or so my bird are to small to proccess i fill their water everyday with ice and water also freeze some juice bottles put one in every morning then refreeze. i also try to give ice cold watermelon a slice or so every day, sounds like a lot but i am doing it for my hens aswell...
  3. Bluff Country Chicken

    Bluff Country Chicken In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2011
    SE MN
    Quote:How old are your birds?
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    Quote:They would have hatched June 6, I picked them up at the feed store June 7th.

    So, they were 5 weeks old last monday, would be six weeks this upcoming Monday (July 18).
  5. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Our temps are going to be in the 90's as well, so I am also going to get mine butchered tomorrow, thank god the are 7wks and over 8 lbs. [​IMG]
  6. 1 hen and 1 roo

    1 hen and 1 roo Chirping

    Jul 16, 2011
    Ouachita Mountains
    We've already lost some to the heat this year. It was sure sad. The first two happened when a Sumatra Pullet fought my Hamburg Cockerel and Pullet. The Hamburgs both had either a heat stroke or heart attack. The barn was near 95 degrees that day inside. The hen died that night. We gave electrolytes to the cockerel and he lived for about 2 days but just didn't survive. Did not know a Sumatra pullet could be so aggressive. In the barn that same night we lost an Blue Wheaten Ameraucana pullet also. The Ameraucana chickens were all lined up on the roost and I think they crunched her into the wall and she must of gotten too hot. Then a few weeks later we had another Blue Wheaten Ameraucana cockerel acting sluggish for several days that was in barn. We gave all the chickens in the barn electrolytes and starting spraying the metal barn with the water hose but he did not recover. The heat is just awful and during this time frame the humidity was awful with it.
    Several weeks later and hotter we moved them outside into an A frame coop. We lost a Wheaten Ameraucana cockerel. Then we lost a Blue Wheaten Ameraucana cockerel in another A frame coop.
    We have started letting the chickens out during the daylight, added tarps for shade with fence post, spray the tarps and ground area with water hose, adding frozen jugs of water into top or bottom of some of the coops, freezing plastic used water bottles and cutting the plastic off the ice and putting the ice into the water containers in their coops.
    We have not lost anymore since we started making attempts to keep them cooler. We also added a box fan to the barn. The Cochins stand in front of the fan during the heat of the day. They are so cute.
    We have had great success with letting the chickens out for where we live. We have not had any LARGE birds fly down and get any of them and no wild critters have come after any of them. Our two dogs just walk around them and lay down underneath the tarps over the coops. Neighbors have lost chickens to predators overnight but we have not experienced any issues. We are blessed and thankful!
  7. Mtn Margie

    Mtn Margie Crowing

    Apr 7, 2010
    CO Rockies - 8600ft up
    It's probably too hot for the predators to think about moving and hunting during the day as well.

  8. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    OK, I harvested and processed them all. No more meaties right now. It was a good thing, too -- after I posted the original post, I went out this afternoon to find one of the 9 prostrate on the cage floor and struggling to breath. I tried giving it some cool water and spraying it off with the hose a bit, but it didn't perk up, and seemed to get worse. So, first to go, there and then on the spot.

    Everyone got processed. It was easy.

    Skinned and dressed, net weight for 9 into the freezer was 30.8 lbs, or an average of 3.42 lbs each. I didn't include the feet in this weight.

    Last Sunday, they averaged 2.74 lbs. So, in six days, they gained an average of .68 lbs.

    I thought this wasn't too bad. 7 of today's nine were hens, since last weekend I tried to process the bigger birds, and obviously, roos grow faster than hens. Having mostly hens in this batch no doubt brought down the average size a bit.

    Very pleased with this project. Out of 25 chickens, I lost none, although it was a close call on 3 of them, 2 caught dying, one very freshly dead, but still processed and fine.

    My totals:

    25 birds at $1.75 each - $43.75. No tax on those in Michigan
    about 3 bags of feed at $16.00 each = $50.88 each (really, probably more like 2 and half bags, I was sharing the bags with some turks and didn't keep exact track of who ate how much).

    Total expenditure of $ 94.63


    1 died at 3 weeks, I processed this one, it was slightly over a pound dressed, IIRC.
    4 processed last Saturday, July 9, 9.4 lbs (IIRC again) TOTAL
    10 processed last Sunday at 2.74 lbs = 27.4 lbs
    1 additional processed last Sunday, not weighed but should be the same = 2.74 lbs
    9 processed today at 3.42 lbs each = 30.8 lbs

    Total weight (skinless birds plus giblets, NOT counting feet) = 71.43 lbs.

    So, this equals approximately $1.32 a lb.

    Really pleased with this project overall. I basically wouldn't do much differently except for 1) if I did a spring crop next year, I'd get them a lot early than the 2nd week in June, to avoid heat. I'd get them probably first week in May, so they would be ready to go outside late May, when our temps here are generally mild, and finish in June, which tends to be not as hot as July; and 2) I need to get my setup built properly -- I improvised this time, using old cages I have left, it worked out but would be less work with a proper setup.

    Really, I think this could be quite easy to do if done right -- watering system, better feeders, better poop method (removable trays would be great, this time I used rubbermade bins).

    Finally, I also processed 11 quail -- I had too many roos and they were having too many 3 am crow-offs, so I processed roos to thin the flock. 11 quail dressed out to 3.1 lbs including the tiny giblets! That's about 5 ounces each. I've NEVER eaten quail, should be interesting. I hope I like it.

    PS --just wanted to say, I THINK I'm right about the feed. I believe that is how much I've used -- between 2 and half and 3 fifty pound bags. But, to be brutally honest, I've got SO many babys going this spring -- turks, geese, these meaties, quail, and even a duck, that I kind of lost exact track. Most everyone was eating the same stuff at some point, gamebird starter or medicated or non medicated all purpose starter.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  9. uchytil

    uchytil Songster

    Apr 28, 2011
    Quote:Is the $1.75 processing? The Amish around me (Twin Lake) charge $1.75 to pluck and bag. The birds come out real nice. They bag the giblets too. I feed mine chick crumble and switch to a flock raiser crumble about half life. I shop sales and always pay about $13 a bag. Of course the longer you keep them the bigger they get and the more they eat! If you start them around Easter you will miss most heat and can go 12 weeks and have some 12 pound chickens. Mine averaged 7.6 to 12, the smaller being pullets. I'm looking into bulk feed for next year to get the cost down further.
  10. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    No, $1.75 each was the price of the day old chicks at the local feed store. I know its a tad high for a Cornish cross, but I wasn't brave enough to venture into mail order at that point. If I do a fall crop, and I probably will, I definitely will mail order them to save a little $$$.

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