Hooligans of the yard/small slaughter size

maplebendfarmmn

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 24, 2014
29
3
24
We bought 15 buff orpington day old chicks from the local feed store this spring for fall meat. These guys were "wacko" from the start. Never calmed down with frequent handling/treats. They would freak out anytime anyone went into the brooder. As they have gotten older their temperament has NOT improved. Ok, we could deal with that. The problem now is that they are all picking on each other. A couple of larger ones will relentlessly chase, peck and attack the rest of the group. I had separated into smaller groups where as soon as one of the group would feel better he would attack his companions he was being separated with. We actually lost 1 due to being starved out by the other birds, they would not let him off of the roost. Unfortunately I did not realize it was this bad until he was really sick. As I said, crazy birds, but my bad not to notice. We tried free ranging everyone, but same behaviors persisted. They will not give up the chase! At five months old they look to be a great size, but are all skin and bones! They are too busy running away or chasing to spend much time eating.

Any suggestions? I would love to fatten them up and slaughter the whole bunch. At this rate that is never going to happen.They have really put a bad taste in my husband's mouth for "heritage" breed birds.

On a side note:
Last years bunch of barred plymouth rock roosters did not put on as much meat as we would have hoped before slaughtering, left with some rather disappointing carcasses. Those roosters had much better temperaments and ate well.

We feed the birds a "broiler" mash and are currently allowing them out on range to supplement. I understand that the heritage grow slower and will take longer to get to slaughter. Is there something we are doing wrong with the feeding of the slower growing breeds to end up with such a small carcass?
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
We bought 15 buff orpington day old chicks from the local feed store this spring for fall meat..... Any suggestions? I would love to fatten them up and slaughter the whole bunch..... They have really put a bad taste in my husband's mouth for "heritage" breed birds.

On a side note:
Last years bunch of barred plymouth rock roosters did not put on as much meat as we would have hoped before slaughtering, left with some rather disappointing carcasses.... We feed the birds a "broiler" mash and are currently allowing them out on range to supplement ....I understand that the heritage grow slower and will take longer to get to slaughter. Is there something we are doing wrong with the feeding of the slower growing breeds to end up with such a small carcass?
One problem you might have is keeping your birds where they can free range thus burning off any weight they've gained by chasing each other around and around the proverbial mulberry bush.

If your raising "heritage" or Heirloom chickens for their meat there is just not going to be as much of it on every carcass as there will be on chickens purposely bred for their meat. Look into caponizing if you want to stick with Heirloom chickens, that is what our great-great grand maws did to ensure a better quality carcass from every unwanted cockerel in her flock.

To ensure the best carcass throw the high protein feed to your birds. They shouldn't even desire to free range if they are eating enough for you and for your husband as well as for themselves.

Oh, and by the way.....
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