Meat and egg layers

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

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  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. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!! [​IMG]

    There's a lot of great info on the site that deals with the questions you're asking, you just have to do a search for it. I'm going to give you my advice on how I would do it, but just letting you know that everyone has a different opinion on what works for their chickens. People on this site are not always used to the idea of chickens as a business.

    Layers need 16% protein, but they do well on 18-20%. More than that should be reserved for breeders, sick or injured girls, molting hens, etc. It's not too feasible as a business to feed them very high protein. Some egg operations get away with 14% but if I were you I'd stick to 16%.

    You probably want Red Sex links, they're a layer hybrid that lays a big brown egg every day. They can start laying at 5 months, but others start at 6 months. I would get chicks earlier than April, maybe mid-March (though I know that's coming up soon)--you want to be sure they start laying before the days shorten in the fall. Some will lay through the winter, especially if you have a light on in the coop that gives them 14 hours of daylight all winter long. You might also look into commercial Leghorn varieties if you want white eggs.

    For small egg layers, 3 square feet of coop space is ideal. For larger egg layers, it should be 4 square feet. Their coop can be smaller if they have a large space during the day to range. Many commercial producers use a small coop with a large portion of pasture fenced off with electronet to let the hens range without worrying about ground predators. Again, the ideal space for ranging is 10 square feet a chicken.

    I'm not very familiar with meat birds so I couldn't say. We usually put regular breeds out as long as it's above freezing at 5 weeks, if they have all their feathers (no more fuzzy chick down). Meat birds should go out before then, but they might need a lamp if they haven't grown too many feathers in yet. As long as it's above freezing, you'd be surprised at what a 3 week old chick can handle. Since it will be April, I would put them out at 2-3 weeks, though you'll have to have a heated space for them before then, and they'll be pretty big at 3 weeks. Again, not too familier with meaties like Cornish X so don't take my word for it.

    Baby meaties need at least 20% protein for the first 3 weeks. Then, switch to 18% protein and feed only 12 hours during the day, then take away feed for 12 hours at night. This is to slow their growth so they don't develop health problems due to their weight. Keep them on this schedule until butchering at 7-9 weeks.

    Broilers need about 1 sq ft a chicken, but are happy with a little more as long as you move the pen so the poo doesn't build up.

    Hope that answered at least a few of your questions. Good luck and let us know how your chicken adventures go. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
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