Large Numbers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by hitnspit, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. hitnspit

    hitnspit Songster

    Feb 24, 2010
    New Haven, Vermont
    Anyone here do large numbers of meat birds? I just got an offer to raise 3500 meatbirds over the summer for a store i sell my eggs to.......jim

  2. cassidy22

    cassidy22 Chirping

    Apr 20, 2011
    Front Range - Colorado
    That's a lot more than I do. I tend to run batches of 100 - 150 several times over the summer.

    Do you process them too? Because that will take you past the under 1000 exemption with the USDA. That's a lot of meat birds. With the amount of food they eat, and the amount that comes back out the other end, you better be prepared for that! :) Good luck!
  3. Darin115

    Darin115 Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Asheboro, NC
    I would think they would want them in batches. 3500 Cornish X chickens would eat an enormous amount of feed and poop an enormous amount as well. It would be a great undertaking to raise that many at one time.

    Hopefully they will split them up. And it would take a entire crew of people to process 3500 chickens. The processing plant that I use only does 800 a day.

  4. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    We do 70-120 every week. You are looking at a fair amount of investment to do that many birds. Do you have processing equipment already? If you already have that, it will certainly help on cost. We have a water heater scalder but we would love to have an automatic one. We use a tub plucker and the eviscerating is done on stainless steel tables. We have four adults working (one does killing, scalding, and plucking; the other three do eviscerating), and two kids (they go fetch the birds from the tractors and do any other odd jobs that come up). Today it took us a little over three hours to do 60 birds. We are improving all the time. When we first started, it took us 5 hours to do 25 or 30 birds. Just takes practice and getting the equipment so we can work in the most efficient manner possible.

    Consider how you will brood them and how much the brooders will cost to construct. Same thing with tractors if you are going to tractor them. We run three large brooders and six tractors right now (the chicks get split into two tractors when they are put out on pasture). The waterers and feeders are a pretty hefty cost. We are switching to nipple waterers in our brooders, and we use bell waterers in our tractors.

    We just bought an ice machine because we go through a lot of ice on processing day and it was just too expensive to keep buying bagged ice. Coolers or something like coolers to chill the birds in after processing is another thing to think about. We use five or six large coolers as chillers after processing, and we have another four coolers that we put the birds in after they are packaged. You'll need to consider packaging as well. We don't use shrink bags since we haven't found a label to put over the hole you have to make, that will stand up to being put back into a cooler filled with ice. We use 3mil bags that we close with metal clips and then our label is attached using a zip tie.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

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