How many birds if you raise for meat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by cleoppa, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. cleoppa

    cleoppa In the Brooder

    Sep 28, 2010

    I've been raising egg-laying chickens for about a year and a half now. My fiance and I were talking about raising chickens for meat. This isn't something I'd really contemplated before, but if it's something we want to do in the future, I want to think through coop sizes and stuff.

    If you raise them for meat, how many do you generally raise a year for food? What's a good number?
    Do you generally raise them yourself or buy them as chicks?
    Is there any problem keeping the laying hens and the birds raised for meat together?
    They're best slaughtered at a certain young age, right? So how does it work when some 30 chickens mature all at the same time? Or do you just slaughter them whenever you need one, even if they're a bit older?
    If you let them live until you need them for meat, what happens when you have a dozen roosters? Do they all fight?


    TOP KNOT Songster

    Mar 10, 2013
    When I raised meat chickens I calculated how much or how often we used chicken. Don't forget lunch meat roasts, pieces for various uses. I, at that time bought chicks(cornish rock cross) I would keep the layers separate from the meat birds. This breed can be ready at 6 weeks. You can check around for local poultry slaughter facilities but you may have to learn how to do it yourself. I got kill cones. You will need a deep freezer... If your freezer has an auto-defrost, this will ruin your meat as this causes freezer burn. If you have heritage breeds, yes the roosters will fight! The meat breed just loaf around.
  3. jsawler

    jsawler In the Brooder

    I do an average of about 70-80 a year. usually 30-40 at a time. obviously I grow for other families as well. like my parents like younger birds. my wife and I preffer older birds.we have a 20x20 dog kennel that we use.(let poor Scooby rest in peace!) half of it has a roof. so we walled in 2/3rds of it.this year ,we had 50 birds in it. but at 7 weeks, we started to ''cull'' them out. my parents got their younger birds first. then followed by my in laws birds, etc! this keeps them foraging (free ranging) well when they are young. and as they grow they need more room, and go outside less. we find it works really well for us(except for no time for vacations). and we also do the 2 batches , so it balances it out better.

    we buy them from a local tach shop that does 3 ''chick days'' a year. either meat or layers.

    my buddy tried to keep heritage birds with his meat birds. the roosters actually killed the meat birds by pecking them so badly that the combs were torn off! so i'll never try that!

    we did an experiment this year, and purchased ALL roos. they do not fight at all. just grow big!extra $0.10 /bird.
  4. colburg

    colburg Songster

    Sep 10, 2012
    Loving, NM
    For our family of 4, we'll end up eating 30 Cornish crosses and about 15 other culls this year. This seems to work out just right when we slaughter one steer and get a hog from the local 4-H sale all in one year.

    If we didn't have the steer and hogs, we'd probably eat 50 cornish crosses/yr and a few culls just to avoid buying as much meat at the store.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    For birds bred for meat (ie cornish x) they can be processed between 6 and 12 weeks. I buy straight run so I don't have to process all at once. The girls seem to get around much better than the boys.

    I start out with the biggest and work my way to the smallest. I don't do it all at once. If you free range and restrict feed, you can keep them around until they start laying, but they will get tough for roasters. You'll have to slow cook them.
    Depends on the family. If it's just you and your fiance, one CX will do you for at least two meals. We'll eat a chicken a week. That's 52 a year. We will split them up into batches. It's easier than raising them all at once, because they eat a whole lot of food and that bill can be very expensive.

    I buy them as chicks. You can't breed your own CX, but you can process off your extra birds. Old hens or excess roosters.

    Many people will tell you different things. I did not have any issue at all. I have CX and heritage birds as well as layers all together. No issues.

  6. Peruvian

    Peruvian Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Our family of 4 eats about 40, 4-5lb birds per year. We have raised up to 60 some years for trading, but not this year.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

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