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How to keep a constant supply of eggs, meat, and birds?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Vallen513, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Vallen513

    Vallen513 In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    I don't have any chickens yet. I am currently planning and gathering information. My setup will be a 10' x 12' coop, and a 17' x 40' run. I have an insulated barn I can use for egg hatching. I want to have a constant supply of eggs and meat for my family of 5. I have a freezer, so I can keep extra birds I cull.

    What I am wondering is it better to try to keep a rooster and hatch chicks, or just to buy pullets, raise a flock, slaughter them and replace birds as they are culled? I live in an area where there are people selling chicks often.

    If the answer is to raise my own perpetual flock. Should a make a separate area in the run and coop for newly hatched birds?

  2. Shesapip

    Shesapip In the Brooder


    I'm two months into chicken-keeping (where have I been all my life?!!!) and these are excellent questions! I bought 4 yearling layers but have had a drop-off in laying rates on two of them, so I'm wondering how old they really are. I've already learned that in terms of egg size and production, I'm fond of Rhode Island Reds.

    Your question about chick-raising is what most interests me.
    Should a make a separate area in the run and coop for newly hatched birds?

    Since I am in a rooster-free zone (within city limits - and I'm not sure I'd want the noise and all the fertilized eggs if they were allowed), I would buy fertilized RIR eggs at $8.50 a dozen and try to get one of my chickens to brood and care for them to save the cost of an incubator and the work of young chick care. Could they be raised among my other nine hens? In addition, I'd like to know how to get one of my RIRs to go broody so I can buy the fertilized eggs and pop them under her?

    She seems a bit broody already - I found her in the nest box with my Delaware's egg under one wing and she was cooing to the stone egg and rolling it with her beak under her other wing. But she's not camping on the nest. As with my other Rhodie, her first mission in life is to find food. [​IMG]
  3. Quote:We hatch and raise ours, why have to buy new birds everytime you want to fill the freezer? By hatching your own you ensure a steady supply and you can hatch as you want.

    We are doing that with quail right now, we keep a small number of breeders year round. Now we are in the process of hatching out 3 batches of 96 eggs per batch about 3 weeks apart. As soon as they are ready 98% of them will go in the freezer and we go back to just breeders again.

    Steve in NC
  4. hollyk

    hollyk Songster

    Nov 21, 2008
    Canton, Texas
    I am still in my first year, but what I am finding is that the easiest way to keep a flow going is to hatch eggs.
    In my area I can buy RIR, Barred Rock or Buff Orpington eggs for $4.00/ dozen. This makes them very economical. This way, I can set and hatch as I need to and can keep a batch that will mature into layers in spring and then in fall. Also, because there is always a surplus of Roo's in a hatch, filling the freezer is no problem.

    Another thing to hatching, of the batches I have done, I have been able to sell enough chicks to pay for the eggs I bought and a bag of feed.[​IMG]
  5. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Currently we buy from a local hatchery and order our meaties through the co-op but we'll be getting into hatching our own for meat soon. The only downside about hatching something like and RiR for meat is the wait... with meat birds you can slaughter after something like 8 weeks... for a good sized bird with the RiRs you have to wait longer and if you dont have the coop space to longterm a bird till slaughter time that is a factor as well.

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