Looking into starting meat chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Blue_Myst, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    With the economy the way it is right now, I've decided to look into more that I can do to be self-sustainable. Meat chickens seemed like a good choice because I already know how to raise standard chickens, but there are some questions I really need answered before I can go any further.

    (1) What is the best way to house meaties? I thought of using a tractor along these lines This seems like a popular way to do it, but what about predators like cayotes and foxes? Won't they be able to dig under and get at my birds?

    (2) How do you go about selecting the right breed of bird? Are McMurray's Jumbo Cornish X Rocks a good choice?

    (3) Do I need to keep the meaties in an indoor brooder, and for how long? Or will they be okay outside with a heat lamp? It would be in the spring and/or fall most likely.

    (4) I know this may sound like a silly question, but if you do it from a young age, can you raise meat chickens and meat turkeys together? It would probably be just two or three turkeys.

    Any other advice, websites, books, anything would be helpful at this point!

    Thank you!

  2. chicken nanny

    chicken nanny In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2009
    Ive only been raiseing meaties for a short time but i wouldnt use anything other than the jumbo cornish cross i brooded my frist batch in the house but wont do than again. Im goin to start brooding them outside in the shed were they are going to be rasied. Just setup a daft shield and some heat lights.
  3. jaku

    jaku Songster

    1) Yes, tractors can not be predator proof, but they're still the best way to raise meaties, IMO.

    2) Cornish X's are a great choice if you want the most meat for your money. That's what I raise, and won't change. They get a bad rap, but they don't deserve it. You don't need to get them from McMurray though. They are all the same from every hatchery. Go with the hatchery closest to you, so you can minimize travel time.

    3) Spring/Fall is the best time to get them. They don't do well in hot weather. Best case scenario is to keep them in the brooder for three weeks, but you can bring them out earlier with supplemental heat/covered pens. I'd suggest keeping them in the brooder for the full three weeks if it's your first time raising them. I tend to keep supplemental heat lamps on my birds until it really warms up anyway- I think it stresses them less, but you don't NEED it after three weeks.

    4) It's said that they should be seperated. I'm doing turkeys for the first time in the spring, and I'll be building a seperate tractor for them. That being said, chickens and turkeys have probably been running around barnyards together for hundreds of years, so if you don't have the option for seperate housing, I'd personally just house them together and see what happened.

    Read Joel Salatin's "Pastured Poultry Profits," and check out Herrick Kimball's website for processing products.
  4. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio

    This link is to a Joel Salatin video which tells why he puts chicks and poults together. Great information. His explanation starts at about 6 minutes into it.
  5. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Thank you everyone, that's just what I needed to know! [​IMG]

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