live weights don't seem good

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by HillCountryMomma, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    I just weighed a couple of my Rangers. They are 8 weeks 4 days old. One of the average sized pullets weighed 4 lbs even, the biggest rooster handy to grab weighed almost 5 lbs. This seems really light to me. There are some birds smaller, but only a few that are as big as the biggest (and he is having a hard time walking already). I'd guess on average most are around 4 lbs.

    It has been horribly hot this spring. We have had record high temps and I'm worried that instead of eating, the birds are just lazing around in the shade through the hot part of the day (which is most of the darn day).

    Any suggestions? I just don't see them being big enough to butcher in a week unless they pack on a *whole* lot of weight right at the end. I'd really wanted whole birds in the 5-6lb weight range. I'm worried that as things are currently going, I'm going to be waiting until they are 11-12 weeks old to get birds that size. At which point, they are going to have cost me a small fortune to feed.

    They have chick feed all day and cracked corn (I'e been feeding 3x a day, they have food left over every time I go to check on them). Not sure what else to do for them feed wise. Can't do much of anything about the heat. They have lots of water, lots of shade, usually a nice breeze. They are free range so can get under trees, shrubs, etc. for shade.

    I'm feeling rather discouraged with the whole meat bird thing today.

    Liz
     
  2. Richard

    Richard Out Of The Brooder

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    With my cornishX rocks I was told not to feed chick food or cracked corn just feed broiler food the their whole life I dont know about freedom rangers thou
     
  3. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    can you post a picture of your birds? Will
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Cracked corn is a hot food and will do more to keep weight off than add it, as it boosts the metabolism. Feeding it during the summer will help to overheat them. Really bad idea, especially with meat birds.

    AKA Get the cracked corn out of their diet. Having them on a straight grower ration would yield far better weight gains.
     
  5. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Well, I can pull the cracked corn but from all the research I've done over the years I've heard that the whole 'hot' concept is pretty much an old wives tale. Anyone have good research that it actually produces excess heat during digestion, more than any other feed? I like the corn because it has a high digestible energy content (which is usually what gets people in trouble with other types of animals... all the DE has to go somewhere and then you end up with 'hot' horses as they burn off the energy). That said, it's making up less than 1/3 of their diet right now and I offer it separately. There's also corn in the crumbles I feed, so I can't remove it all together or they'd starve to death! [​IMG] There's always left over corn and crumbles between feedings, so they have as much as they want of both to eat. Ya'd think they'd be the fattest birds ever!!

    Broiler feed isn't an option. No one anywhere around here has it. They are on non-medicated chick starter which is an acceptable feed, lots of online sources recommend it. What is the difference between a broiler feed and chick starter?

    Not trying to be argumentative! Just curious about what the deal is with the birds. They look really nice,they are real active (maybe that's part of the problem!) they just aren't all that big. Looking at the FR site, they really aren't far off from the target weight they are supposed to reach at 9 weeks. Maybe I had just mistakenly expected more of them.

    I'm a little concerned too that I got the dregs that were left over when I ordered. I was one of the last shipped orders before the Freedom Ranger people went out of business. I didn't even get the birds I had ordered (wanted reds, the shipping label said I got goldens, the birds are a motley collection of colors). Some of the 'types' grew faster than others, and I have no idea how the goldens grow or if what I have are actually the goldens!

    How do I post pictures here? I'll run out and snap some and post them to my blog in the mean time!

    Thanks for the thoughts.
     
  6. Red Tie

    Red Tie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2008
    Metamora, MI
    I had to have my feed store order the Purina Show Chow for Broilers for me. The difference between regular chick starter and Broiler feed is the protein levels. The broiler feed has (I think from memory) 22.5 percent protein. Chick starter is like 18 percent. In between is the Flock Raiser feed which is 20 percent. The broiler feed is fed from start to finish according to the Purina label.

    Jane
     
  7. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Thank you Jane!

    I was kinda pondering getting bulk feed custom milled if I do meat birds again. Good to know the differences between broiler and standard starter feed. I've been looking online, but not finding a whole lot thus far.

    The chick starter I used was 24%, then when the birds were a little older I dropped down to the 20%. So, not a whole lot lower than the broiler feed.

    Our local Tractor Supply was out of chick starter when I went in yesterday (ahh! Panic!!!) so I stopped at my feed store. Their chick starter is medicated, but they have a game bird finisher that isn't. It's 20% protein, higher fat and cheaper. Except it's a pellet which really has my birds confused. *sigh* can't win for loosing it seems!

    Liz
     
  8. HFC

    HFC Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, they need to be on a broiler starter/finisher. I've never seen a feed store that didn't carry it, but nothing surprises me.

    I use turkey starter for my broilers because it's about $5-6/bag cheaper and higher in protein.
     
  9. HenniePennie

    HenniePennie Out Of The Brooder

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    This is my 3rd year to have meat birds, layers, and turkeys. In the past I've bought chick starter for all my babies. This year when I went in to pick up my baby turkeys I was told to be sure & use turkey starter. I asked why not chick starter. I was told that turkeys need the extra ingredients for the developement of their legs. Any one know if that is true???

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:When I first started raising meat birds,alot of people told me to stop their feed and use cracked corn about 2 weeks before butchering to finish them out.I asked the guy at the feed mill and he told me that he heard that many people did that but he didn't feel it was nessasary because the grower mash(York State Grower Mash)that they sold was already heavy in the corn.I am surprized to see that many people here say you shouldn't feed corn in the summer,I think most feed,like you said has corn in it.It may not say that on the label but think it may be listed as grain products.
    I liked the grower mash they sold it was only 16% protein but they sold me something to go along with it to raise the protein % up,at one time they had something called pro-peak that I'd mix 1 part pro-peak to 5 parts grower mash.Because of the mad cow scare,they can no longer carry it.So now I think they tell you to up it with soybean to get the % up.
    just my 2 cents worth. Will
     

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