Impulse batch of broilers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by AutumnThyme, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. AutumnThyme

    AutumnThyme Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all,
    Yesterday, I walked into the local TSC with a few minutes to kill before picking up my husband from work. I figured I'd have a peek at the cutie widdle fuzzy chickies (NOT buy any, of course!) and price rabbit food (thinking of getting into meat rabbits). Wellll... when I saw that they were overstocked with a bunch of 3 week old Red Ranger broiler chicks that they were desperately trying to unload for 50 CENTS APIECE!!! chicken math kicked in, and now I've got a dozen half-grown peepers in the basement brooder box. They're all at that "moth-eaten tiny velociraptor" stage where half the feathers are in and half the down is out. Thoroughly un-cute, but man oh man, what a bargain!
    Anyway, I'm totally new to raising chickens expressly for meat, so if anyone has tips or lessons learned, I'd highly appreciate your input. I'm feeding Kreamer Feed (Nature's Best) Organic chick starter crumbles 18%. Not sure if/ when to switch them to a broiler feed and also not sure if I'll butcher at 8, 10, or 12 weeks.
    Thanks everybody!
     
  2. merawoods

    merawoods New Egg

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    I am seriously wanting to order some meat birds. I'm curious as to what is the best breed. I DO NOT want Cornish Crosses. What are your suggestions??? I'm also interested in what is the best feed for growing meat birds. I raised a brood, which I had hatched myself of misc. eggs, and they took forever to grow out; like 6-7 months! Even then, they were not "plump". I know they aren't going to be like what you buy in the store; those have been given growth hormones and pumped with water. I want something I can butcher in 3-4 months.
     
  3. rainbowrooster

    rainbowrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Actually you start them on broiler feed.
     
  4. janoel8-48

    janoel8-48 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2015
    I have Cornish rocks, and reccomendations for butchering them is about 8 weeks.
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I tried Red Rangers the summer before last, mostly because they were available in a smaller minimum order than the Freedom Rangers I'd tried the summer before. They were healthy and active, which I liked, but slower to mature than the Freedom Rangers. I butchered the largest rooster at 9 1/2 weeks and he was only 3lb 5oz. I did two more at 11 weeks and both roosters were about 4 lb. I did the rest at 12 weeks and again, the roosters were around 4 lb and the pullets around 3 1/2. I tried CX that summer too and was dissapointed (I live at 8,000ft of altitude and I'll blame my high mortality rate on their inability to deal with the high altitude). So, assuming your Red Rangers are similar to mine, don't count on butchering at 8 weeks, go 11 or 12.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've really liked the Freedom Rangers from Freedom Ranger Hatchery. The chicks are healthy and active on arrival and I've lost very few during the first weeks. Every batch I've done (3 batches now of 35, 35 and 45) have had one big rooster who developed a wierd limp and was the first to be butchered, but nothing that kept them from getting to a healthy 4 pounds dressed weight. I start them on a mix of chick starter and turkey/game bird starter because the chick starter I get at my local feed store isn't as high protien as the hatchery recommends. When the first bag of turkey/game bird starter is gone I just go to straight chick starter. I've butchered at anywhere from 9 to 12 weeks. By 12 weeks the roosters are around 6 pounds. I even kept 2 pullets and one rooster from my first batch, thinking to see if I could hatch out some of my own second-generation Freedom Rangers in the spring. The rooster was a monster, twice the size of my heritage layers and I ended up butchering him when he was maybe 5 months old. The hens layed sporadically through the winter and I butchered them both the following spring.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I can't advise you regarding best practice for meat chicks. I put mine on fermented multi-flock last year, and they did well. Was it the best choice? I don't know, but my whole flock ate the same thing. No juggling multiple bags of feed. You got a triple bargain: discount on price per chick, and you saved 3 weeks worth of feed! And, you saved 3 weeks worth of labor and heat lamp cost! Win Win Win!

    From my reading, the meat birds you buy in the store are not given growth hormones. But, they are given arsenic in small amounts which does increase their growth rate. Either way, no matter what the commercial farm raised birds are fed, you'll end up with a home grown bird that you know how it's been fed and raised. It will, for that reason alone, be superior to what you'll find in the cello pack at the grocery store! I grew Pioneers last year, and was very pleased with them.
     
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  8. rainbowrooster

    rainbowrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The CornishX are the best birds for meat. The problem most have with them is due to how they are raised in a commercial setting. You don't have to do that to get fine eating birds when you are in control of how they are raised.

    It has been illegal to give growth hormones to broilers for many decades. Actually they grow so fast that they just don't need it. Additional hormones would most likely cripple far too many birds since their skeletons couldn't grow fast enough to keep up with the increased growth rate. The arsenic is used to increase blood flow so the breasts appear more pink on the store shelf.
     

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