How much room for meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ChickChickChicky, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. ChickChickChicky

    ChickChickChicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2011
    Greater Kansas City, MO
    I posted this question in another thread but got no answers, so I'll try here.

    I am contemplating raising a few meat birds (CornishX) this spring. I've had laying hens for just over a year now and have soaked up TONS of knowledge from the old-timers on this and a couple other threads (which are now sadly closed). I plan on feeding the meaties ff (fermented feed) from day 1 but am wondering if the space requirements are the same for meaties as for layers??? The coop they'd be in is 6' x 4' and the attached covered run is 6' x 12', it will hold 6 layers just fine.

    I actually have two coops, the other coop w/ covered run will comfortably hold 12 layers. I'm going to start off small with the meaties to see how I like it and how things work out, but MIGHT in the future decide to reduce the laying flock and put them in the smaller coop and raise meaties in the bigger coop. None of my layers free range (due to microscopic city lot and huge overabundance of predators) but are confined to their coops/covered runs 24/7 (pop door always open; pine shavings deep-litter method in coop; sand, dirt and wood ashes in runs; absolutely predator-proof; and they get fresh greens and ff every day and meat scraps maybe every 2-3 days).

    Another thing I wonder about is how well meat birds could navigate the ramp (plywood with cleats about every 5-6") to get in and out of the coop. It's a little steep, but of course my hens have no problems with it. Ideas and suggestions appreciated!
  2. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I don't have experience with CX, but I did raise Freedom Rangers last summer and they had no problem navigating a ramp. As for square footage...I know a lot of folks use chicken tractors for their meat birds because they are very poopy, messy birds. I think they fit more birds per square foot in a tractor than you might in a fixed run because they can move the tractor regularly to fresh/clean grass. If you have a fixed coop/run, I'd err on the large size, be sure the entire run has shade, and then move the feeder and waterer around the run on a daily basis to see if you could get them to move around more. Maybe they could spend the night in the coop but on some days you could move them to a play pen on fresh grass.
  3. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    CX will not be able to navigate that ramp after about the 5th week of life. After this point, their chests become so overly huge that simply trying to walk over a stick lying on the ground can be a challenge! Seriously! You'll be putting them to bed every night.

    There are many companies offering 'Red Broilers' or other such names. These are the FR's that are commonly sold by a couple different names. These birds DID roost well, DID climb and jump and fly - just like any other chicken, until about 9wks. However, they also crowed at 8wks.

    So, if I was on a micro-ciy-urban lot, I would choose some CX because they were exceptionally quiet birds. They do stink - a lot, so plan on extra bedding (deep litter method did NOT work for me for this, but does for my layers just fine) and finding someone to compost it if you cannot yourself. I'd say two bags of bedding a week, especially after they get out of the brooder.

    I'd also reconfigure my coop situation so they have no more than a 2x3" lying on it's side to climb over. Our tractor has a 2x4" lying vertically (so the 4" is perpendicular to the ground), and our CX had a devil of a time getting past that barrier towards the end of their lives. If you place a waterer and feeder in different places daily, it encourages the birds to move around more. Good luck!

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