Housing for dual purpose birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by dianehall, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. dianehall

    dianehall New Egg

    Oct 1, 2015
    I've been reading about the different breeds suitable and also housing. Currently I have a nice coop with predominately Rhode Island Reds. I want to have a sustainable egg/meat flock, so from what I've read, the RIR's would be fine--which gives me a head start already!

    I guess my question is how to house them. I want my meat birds to be housed in a chicken tractor--I can do that. Do I need to separate the hens on eggs from the coop flock? what is the best way to accomplish what I want.

    I can't allow them free range--there are far too many predators where I am.

    I also son't want to use commercial feed any longer--or any more than i HAVE to. Besides the vegetables that I can grow and putting them in tractors, is there a better "mix" that I can buy to make my own feed that would be better than commercial layer pellets?

    ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    If you have hatchery reds then they really are not a dual purpose bird. They are smaller than true heritage RIR and those are smaller than some other dual purpose breeds. It's really what your looking to achieve from it all. Is your focus on eggs and having a sustainable flock to eat the culled birds, extra cockerels and older layers? Any breed works for that as you can eat any chicken. Your production reds would work well but know that it will be a small carcass and not a visually apealing table bird.

    I disagree with getting away from purchasing commercial feed. Unless you really know what your doing mixing your own to meet the nutritional requirements of your birds is both challenging and more expensive to achieve. There is a lot to be said for the decades of study that results in today's feed.

    Electric poultry netting is a good way to have birds in a large run that can be moved to fresh pasture. You need a movable coop is all. The tractors for meat birds work two fold; they consume so much feed that moving the tractor keeps things clean and it provides pasture which promotes meat birds to exercise some foraging. Meat birds are not like dual purpose birds in that dual purpose don't go through nearly the amount of feed so are cleaner and will scratch about without prodding. Though you'll never get the conversion of feed to meat like a meat bird.

    I think you need a clearer idea of what you want. Perhaps a self sustaining layer flock of reds and purchasing a few meat birds for tractor two or three times a year to butcher would better suit your needs.

    I don't do meat birds myself and raise a dual purpose breed. I'm not tying to keep myself in meat but each year do cull many 12-16 week old cockerels for grilling or roasting and a few older layers for soup. I like a true dual purpose bird as the cockerels are of good size at that age and of course still tender enough to grill if around 14 weeks. Later culls of 20 weeks or so while I'm still deciding which are breeders make great roasters. I like the bigger birds to feel I'm getting more for work of butchering but any bird will do especially if you don't have a large family.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  3. dianehall

    dianehall New Egg

    Oct 1, 2015
    Thank you so much for your very informative answer!!!!!

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