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Meat and egg layers

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by shultsm029, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. shultsm029

    shultsm029 Hatching

    Mar 10, 2013
    Hi, I am recently knew to the vpchicken business. I live on a large dairy and am looking for a small investment. Over the su mmer I will be raising about 20 egg layers and 100 meat chickens (over three groups).
    Regarding the egg layer house, is there a certain dimension that works well, I wanna recycle rain water, and have the house on skids. Anyone have chicken coop idea? I want the chicken to have a run, but I also want to know how long it takes to get eggs, and how big the size of the laying area should be for ideally the most production.
    For the meat chickens I understand the coop portion, I need to know more off getting the birds started how long they should be inside, how much protein they should be getting at each stage? How long they should be in the brooder and when can I put them out on the pasture. I live in the northeast usa and plan on getting my first chickens the middle of April?

  2. Charlieandlola

    Charlieandlola In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2013
    I can maybe help with some of your questions.
    Egg layers: light is important with egg production. I don't know if space per bird is a factor, although you certainly want a good amount of space. You also need nest boxes that provide a dark, quiet place for the chickens to lay their eggs. It takes about 5 months for them to start laying, so april birds will start around September. Their eggs will be small at first and get larger over time, especially after they molt. What you feed them also impacts egg production. I feed a commercial layer feed for this reason. I also provide oyster shell and grit. My birds free range, but they still eat the commercial feed (much less in summer). I think for best eggs, the birds need access to the outdoors so they can scratch, eat bugs, eat grass....etc. I have 15 egg layers and they lived in a renovated horse trailer in summer. They were only in there at night to roost and to lay eggs, and the size of the trailer was only appropriate for this purpose. In winter, I moved them into the barn into a horse stall, that is 9X18, which provides plenty of space. I think I read that 4 square feet per bird is enough, but if they don't have outdoor access, personally, I don't feel that is enough space. With access to the outside, 4 sq ft would be okay.

    Meat birds: the recommendations are a high protein feed. I fed a 22%. I wouldn't feed less than 20% protein feed.I fed that level of protein feed the whole time, from start to finish. How long they stay inside is weather dependent. I kept mine inside for 4 weeks last year, then moved them to chicken tractor, but the temps dipped pretty low (40 something) for a few nights, so I put a heat lamp on them. They feather out pretty fast and grow fast. They don't do well if they get wet, so if they are outside on pasture and it rains, have a plan to move them or provide something dry that they can sit on...straw or something.

    My hatchery recommends the following when it comes to meat birds: "Give your chicks a commercial chick starter with a coccidiostat in it. Broilers do best if you feed them 20% to 21% protein feed. Do not push them the first 3 to 4 weeks. FOR BROILERS, RESTRICT ACCESS TO FEED (AFTER FIRST TWO DAYS) TO 10 HOURS PER DAY FOR THESE FIRST FOUR WEEKS. Be sure that all chicks have adequate feeder space so that most of the chicks can eat at the same time. Slowing a broiler's growth at the very beginning so that heart and lung size matches muscle (meat) development is very essential. NEVER feed drastically lower protein rations or grain only rations as this can cause severe and permanent leg or joint problems. Feed broilers in the morning and evening but DO NOT keep feed in front of them at all times."

    I highly, highly recommend you remove the feed or restrict it in some way. I did not and several of my birds died. After discussing their symptoms and death with the hatchery, they said remove the feed at night. I did and I didn't loose anymore birds.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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